SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, announced Monday, September 5, 2022, that it has successfully deployed 51 Starlink satellites into space, completing its 40th mission since the beginning of the year. High-speed Internet service will be installed on all Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises ships, as well as on all new ships of each brand. At the moment, Starlink provides satellite Internet access coverage in about 40 countries.
Deployment of Spaceflight’s Sherpa-LTC confirmed
The Falcon 9 rocket launched 51 Starlink satellites and Spaceflight’s Sherpa-LTC into orbit from Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Station in Florida, USA.
“Deployment of 51 Starlink satellites confirmed, completing SpaceX’s 40th mission so far this year! Spaceflight Sherpa-LTC deployment confirmed“, the company said in a tweet.
The Sherpa-LTC Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV) carries a payload for a Spaceflight customer (part of Boeing’s Varuna technology demonstration mission). This transport aims to test V-band communications for a future constellation of 147 non-geostationary broadband satellites.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 will drop the Sherpa-LTC at an altitude of 310 kilometers above the Earth. Next, Sherpa-LTC will use its high thrust onboard propulsion system to maneuver to its designated 1,000 kilometer circular orbit, where it will be tested for two years.
Rocket launches almost every five days
Last week, Musk said SpaceX is launching Starlink satellites almost every five days now and plans to launch 100 orbital missions by 2023. According to Elon Musk, SpaceX now launches rockets about every five days, which would help the company easily reach its goal.
SpaceX has already broken its own record for the most annual launches (which number 31) and is now aiming to double that number. Late last month, SpaceX put another 54 of its Starlink broadband satellites into orbit and landed a rocket on a ship at sea.
A prestigious client: the Royal Caribbean International group
At the same time, Royal Caribbean Group became the first global cruise line to adopt SpaceX Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency Internet services to provide a better onboard experience for guests and crew.
High-speed Internet service will be installed on all Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises ships, as well as on all new ships of each brand. This facility is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
Soon global internet coverage?
The total coverage of the globe by the Starlink network should be reached in several years: 12,000 satellites will be sent by 2025, and 42,000 eventually, according to SpaceX. “It’s possible because these SpaceX rockets are reusable, they can relaunch rockets and satellites with a big cadence. Global internet coverage will only work because there will be a large number of satellites”, explains David Fossé, deputy editor of the magazine Ciel et Espace. Astronomers are concerned about the effect of the Starlink satellite network on ground-based astronomy (light pollution) and how these satellites will add to an already crowded orbital environment, increasing the risk of collision.