SpaceX schedules second Falcon 9 West Coast launch from Starlink
A pair of Notices to Sailors (NTM) released earlier this week reveals that SpaceX could perform its second West Coast Starlink launch as early as Sunday, October 17.
Used to demarcate certain regions, mariners must temporarily avoid or exercise caution, DEMs – although cryptic – often reveal roughly when a rocket launch or spacecraft reentry is expected to take place days or weeks before. that NASA, the US military or any company involved does not announce a target official. This now appears to be the case for SpaceX’s “Starlink Group 2-2” mission, which is expected to be the second dedicated launch of Starlink polar satellites. Presumably identical to Starlink 2-1, which was successfully launched on a Falcon 9 rocket on September 14, Starlink 2-2 will likely carry 51 other enhanced Starlink V1.5 satellites.
Each outfitted with several custom lasers built by SpaceX called Optical Interconnects or OILs, the Starlink Group 2 satellites will orbit (roughly) around the Earth’s poles instead of its equator and eventually use these lasers to enable the rest of the Starlink constellation. fully route user communications. in the space. While current Starlink internet users must live a few hundred miles from a SpaceX ground station to access the network, a constellation of satellites with laser interconnects could serve anyone on Earth – virtually regardless of location. from the ground station – by routing user communications through any number of laser-linked satellites.
Once all ~ 1,600 Starlink V1.0 satellites are replaced with V1.5 spacecraft, SpaceX will effectively have created a second Internet independent of the millions of miles of copper and fiber-optic cables that nearly all modern users rely on. Of course, SpaceX’s Starlink V1.5 and V2.0 + constellation will function primarily as an extension of that existing network, but it will enable unprecedented routing exploits – latency that no wired network can physically match, in other words.
The main appeal of a laser-linked constellation, however, is the ability to connect users to the Internet almost regardless of location. In addition to the hundreds of millions of rural and underserved and unserved customers around the world, including those trapped in restrictive national ‘firewalls’, an interconnected constellation will enable SpaceX to deliver unprecedented high-quality connectivity to ships , planes, trains and road vehicles. Currently only served by mediocre and marginally reliable geostationary providers at a high cost, disrupting those captive markets with service so many leagues above that Starlink alone could secure SpaceX billions of dollars in annual revenue.
Shortly after the Sailor Advisories were released, Next Spacefight’s Michael Baylor confirmed that the Starlink 2-2 mission was to be launched from Vandenberg Air / Space Base no earlier than (NET) at 10:34 a.m. PDT (UTC- 7) Sunday. , October 17. The launch window is open for an hour, and like Starlink 2-1, will likely involve an attempt to land the Falcon 9 a few hundred miles downstream from the Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) drone.
It remains to be seen which Falcon booster is assigned at launch or if SpaceX will fire it in static several days before.