According to SpaceX CEO Elona Musk, the next generation of Starlink satellites will be bigger and more powerful, designed to provide Internet access in remote parts of the world. The billionaire recently discussed the details of Starlink 2.0 in the popular YouTube show Everyday Astronaut.
In a 32-minute video, Musk says that SpaceX has already created the first Starlink 2.0 satellite. The new generation is 7 meters long and weighs about 1.25 tons. For comparison, Starlink 1.0 weighs about 260 kilos. According to Mask, the weight has increased due to the increased efficiency of the satellite.
But heavier satellites create more complex cargo. Starlink satellites are ascending to low Earth orbit aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, but it will not be able to carry Starlink 2.0.
Instead, SpaceX is betting on Starship, a heavy rocket that is currently being developed but has already suffered numerous delays. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been working for months on an environmental review of the Starship program to assess its impact, and the report is expected to be released in mid-June, although it has been repeatedly postponed, to Mask’s great horror.
“We need Starship to work and to fly frequently, or Starlink 2.0 will be stuck on the ground,” Musk said in an interview.
Meanwhile, not everyone is ready for the second generation of Starlink satellites, which are launched into low Earth orbit. Earlier this year, NASA officials prepared a letter to the FAA expressing concern about Starlink 2.0 and the risk of collisions with various NASA satellites and spacecraft.
Musk is creating a mega-constellation of Internet satellites, hoping to orbit a whopping 42,000 satellites to provide broadband Internet access to remote parts of the world. SpaceX now has about 2,300 active Starlink satellites in orbit.