General Category > Computers

SpaceX’s Next Starlink Mission Will Complete The Broadband Constellation’s First Orbital Shell


TESMANIAN by Evelyn Arevalo May 25, 2021

SpaceX is ready to launch another Starlink mission, it will be the eighth satellite deployment in less than eight weeks. The company has a record-breaking launch manifest this year, mostly consisting of building its internet network to provide ‘near-global’ internet coverage before 2021 ends. SpaceX is already accepting service pre-orders via SpaceX’s next Starlink mission will complete the broadband constellation’s first orbital shell. Phase 1 of the satellite network consists of launching around 4,408 satellites to orbit in 5 orbital shells, as listed in the graph below.

Phase 1  Inclination  Orbital Altitude  Number of Starlink
Shells      Degree        Kilometers    Satellites per Shell
Shell 1      53.0          550 km             1,584
Shell 2      53.2          540 km             1,584
Shell 3      70.0          570 km               720
Shell 4      97.6          560 km               348
Shell 5      97.6          560 km               172

SpaceX is currently working on Shell 1, which consists of 1,584 Starlink satellites operating at 53 degrees in 72 orbital planes, with 22 satellites operating in each plane at a 550-kilometer altitude in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). This first shell will provide broadband coverage to around 80% of our planet’s surface. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said that the company will achieve coverage of “most of Earth by end of year, all by next year, then it’s about densifying coverage,” he stated.

To date, SpaceX has deployed a total of 1,677 satellites of which around 1,604 are still in orbit and out of those – 1,574 are operational, according to data by Center for Astrophysics astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who has closely monitored the constellation. SpaceX’s upcoming 29th Starlink mission will add 60 satellites to the constellation, marking the completion of the first orbital shell. Shell 1 satellites will finish rising into their operational altitude in LEO by the end of the year.



[0] Message Index

Go to full version