Starlink Launches its First Batch of V2 Mini Satellites
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The SpaceX constellation, Starlink, has a new generation V2 Mini of satellites to improve and iterate on its great collection in orbit. Although the v1.5 satellites continue to be launched, the new ones that are not definitive (V2) are starting to arrive.
What differences are there? In general terms, four times more capacity is necessary for the network since, as customers grow, better capacity is needed to serve them.
The V2 Mini is the scaled-down version of the V2 that will be available in orbit when the huge Starship launcher can place them there, while the “Mini” can be launched by the current Falcon 9 without issue. Each V2 Mini weighs about 800 kg (the original V1s weighed only 295 kg). With this expanded size, each Falcon 9 fits “barely” 21 compared to the 60 of the older models.
Another difference is the switch from krypton to argon ion engines, which offer 2.4 times more thrust and 1.5 times more specific impulse, thus improving fuel efficiency. All SpaceX Starlink satellites have such an engine to reach their final orbit. For more details on the Starlink satellite, a downloadable document is provided.
A V1 satellite had a download capacity of 17 to 23GBps so, without having the exact number but the statement from SpaceX, it is possible that we are close to 90Gbps in these V2 Mini.
The increase in capacity goes hand in hand with the speed reduction. Initially, one had greater download freedom, but now the price went from USD 110 per month to USD 120 for residential users with a transfer limit of 1TB. Once exceeded, it is reduced speed. This makes a huge difference with the classic cable providers since there are fewer limits because there is no such thing as a limited spectrum.
In the case of radio signals, there will always be limitations, which is why Starlink aims to have more than 12,000 satellites, not only for global coverage but also because more satellites allow more connection points and less bandwidth limitation. If the idea is to have millions of customers, you have to offer something usable, not just a few bytes.
First Starlink v2 satellites reach orbit pic.twitter.com/0l08568mJ9
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 28, 2023
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