Starlink Gen2 Satellites Given The Green Light

Posted on Saturday, Dec 10, 2022 by Ned Bellavance

Featured in this episode of Chaos Lever

In hopes of bolstering the diminished bandwidth being experienced by Starlink users, SpaceX has received the go ahead from the FCC to launch the second generation of Starlink satellites into space. The Gen2 satellites are far beefier than their Gen1 counterparts, coming in at 22 feet long and 2,755 pounds versus Gen1’s 573 pounds.

Onboard the Gen2 satellites are the new E-band system to work with next gen ground stations and a goal of building shells at various orbital levels to produce a more robust, lower latency, and higher bandwidth network. Unfortunately, there are two things standing in the way of their space internet visions.

First, the current generation of Falcon rockets are unable to carry enough Gen2 satellites per launch to make the process financially viable, so the Gen2 sats will have to wait until Starship is ready. Which is worrisome, since Starship has not yet had a successful flight, and the last test launch was back in May.

Secondly, Starlink had requested FCC approval for 30k satellites in multiple orbital levels, but the FCC has only granted 7,500 satellites at a specific orbit, citing valid concerns about space debris. If you have a Starlink subscription today, know that better bandwidth and more capacity is on the way, but it might be a minute or a couple years before you see it.