SpaceX's Starlink 2.0 – Faster Speeds, Greater Coverage and More

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SpaceX’s Starlink 2.0 Explained. Elon Musk is launching a next-generation version of SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites.

#spacex #starlink

Since its operational launch, SpaceX’s Starlink has already created quite a scene, with more than 30 successful missions, over 1600 active satellites, and a 99-dollar price tag. CEO Elon Musk’s newest major project is one to behold, with hopes to provide high-speed satellite internet across the globe.

Although it has only existed for a few years, SpaceX is already looking into launching a second-generation Starlink network, split into v1.5 and v2.0. Nonetheless, there has been quite a bit of confirmed upgrades and changes coming soon to Starlink.

However, Starlink’s future upgrades aren’t nearly as dramatic of an upgrade without understanding where the project has been. So, let’s take at Starlink’s short history before discussing Starlink v2.0 and its new benefits and improvements.

v0.1 was the basis of Starlink, having been the first launch for the upcoming satellite constellation. With two satellites onboard, MicroSat-2a and 2b, Starlink v0.1 was taken to space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket alongside Spain’s Paz spy satellite. Now orbiting in a low-Earth orbit, v0.1 served as a short experiment for Starlink, offering sub-10-minute communications in three ground stations across Washington State and California. But, of course, speeds were abysmal, likely resting at just a few kilobits or megabits per second.

With tests having succeeded, Musk and the SpaceX team went to work on Starlink v0.9. Tintin, expected to last for about six to twelve months before its intentional destruction, lined up nicely with v0.9’s launch. With the information from their v0.1 tests, SpaceX went ahead with launching their first formal Starlink beta in May 2019.

Now with 60 satellites and a few upgrades, v0.9 launched in mid-May. A bit different from the first two MicroSat satellites, this collection had some unique updates and design changes. The most notable would be Starlink’s new satellite design, home to flat panels, multiple antennas, and a solar array.

While these earlier versions were, it’s nothing compared to v2.0. One of the most significant talking points behind v2.0 is inter-satellite communication. Starlink has been relatively limited, ignoring that it has been early access with only some seventeen-hundred-odd satellites launched.

By including lasers and inter-satellite communication, data can roam nearly anywhere worldwide, as long as there’s a Starlink satellite close enough. Plus, with thousands expected to reach orbit, that won’t be too hard. Additionally, laser links take only a few seconds or minutes to lock on between satellites and transmit data at theoretical dozens, if not hundreds of gigabits per second. Even if v2.0 includes just laser links as its only upgrade, it’ll bring so many benefits and put it much closer to being a cable alternative. Unfortunately, SpaceX has been incredibly quiet about v2.0, although Elon Musk has said it’ll be “significantly more capable,” with launches in 2022. Starlink v2.0 is expected by many to bring E band frequencies at about 60 to 90 gigahertz, upwards of 30,000 additional satellites, and global coverage through laser links. Realistically, the only limit to Starlink is in its bandwidth, as the satellites are so low in Earth’s orbit.

With Starlink’s potential speed increasing, latency decreasing, bandwidth growing, and coverage speeding up exponentially, there’s a lot of underrated but significant benefits coming with v2.0. Laser links and inter-satellite communication, while boring to many, is essential in ensuring Starlink can work as intended.

Similar to earlier versions, v2.0 satellites will sit at 570 kilometers, with the ability to completely deorbit and disintegrate within Earth’s atmosphere. Plus, with the much more extensive coverage range, SpaceX will be able to apply for increased funding and licensing across countries and continents, which could make future updates and system-wide changes much more straightforward.

15 comments
  1. What do you think about Starlink v2.0 and what it'll bring to SpaceX's satellite internet? Let us know in the comments down below!

  2. AFAIK the faster gen 2 megaconstellation is supposed to be the 30,000 satellites they haven't received approval for yet. Those satellites would have 3x bandwidth than the 20gbps we have now.

  3. So what the other countries think about this the talibanes and Cubans or the countries against USA or is no law after u out there in the space su can do w.e u fucking wan

  4. I suspect Starlink 2.0 will be a major cash cow for SpaceX from 2023 onwards due to businesses starting to use it in significant numbers. This will cause an explosive increase in the speed of SpaceX's R&D which in turn will bring many new exciting space related things for us to watch. All this is just a hunch of mine and I hope to see it happen 🙂

  5. I was a fairly early beta user. Love it I'm in the country and it is the first internet that actually works at my house

  6. This is a uniquely wonderful report, has just brought at least one new subscriber. The progress of this system is beyond my wildest imagination, how they are introducing a next generation almost yearly, for sure with having developed it properly, including building up the associated production. To your question, I guess that the only hinderance can be found in some regulatory issues, that the politics doesn't want to have any competitor as predominant as they are, just like a parent doesn't want the fastest kid to eat a cake alone, but has to share it with its weaker siblings…

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