SpaceX is preparing to launch the Starlink Group 6-29 mission, which will deploy 23 Starlink v2 Mini satellites into orbit. The mission will be carried out by the Falcon 9 rocket, with lift-off scheduled from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, USA.
Starlink Group 6-29 is part of SpaceX’s internet communication satellite constellation, known as Starlink. The constellation aims to deliver fast and reliable internet service to areas where ground-based internet is unreliable, unavailable, or expensive. Once deployed, the total number of Starlink satellites launched will reach 5,468, with approximately 5,100 still in orbit.
The Starlink v2 Mini satellites are compact, weighing 307 kg each. They feature a flat-panel design that allows SpaceX to launch up to 60 satellites at a time. These satellites are equipped with high-tech communication and cost-saving technologies, including phased array antennas for high bandwidth and low-latency communication, as well as an inter-satellite laser communication system for direct communication between satellites.
The satellites are also equipped with an autonomous collision avoidance system, which uses a US Department of Defense (DOD) debris tracking database to avoid collisions with other spacecraft and space debris. Each satellite has a single solar panel and uses a krypton-powered ion thruster for propulsion.
In the future, SpaceX plans to launch larger and more powerful Starlink v2 satellites on its Starship launch vehicle. These satellites will provide worldwide cell phone coverage and offer higher speeds and increased bandwidth compared to the current satellites. However, due to delays in the Starship launch vehicle development, SpaceX is launching the Starlink v2 Mini satellites as an interim solution.
Overall, the Starlink Group 6-29 mission represents another step towards expanding global internet coverage and improving communication capabilities.