Radical SpaceX Starlink Satellite Designs Lower Costs by Three Times

SpaceX has made radical and innovative choices to make the Starlink satellites lower cost and more reliable.

SpaceX deployed all sixty satellites with the launching system. The Starlink satellites will use Krypton ion engines to move into their correct positions.

The Starlink satellites were packed flat like Ikea furniture. The flat configuration enabled about two to three times as many satellites to be launched at the same time.

* SpaceX uses krypton instead of xenon as fuel for their ion drives. This will cut the cost of electric Starlink thrusters by up to 10 times. This will save $50,000 or more per satellite.

* They built four large phased-array antennas directly into the body of each satellite in order to remove a failure mode where antennas do not deploy.

SOURCES- Twitter Elon Musk and SpaceX, Teslarati
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

13 thoughts on “Radical SpaceX Starlink Satellite Designs Lower Costs by Three Times”

  1. Probably. SpaceX won’t charge itself the going rate.

    And this was a third launch of that booster so the real cost is:

    • Starlink costs
    • 2nd stage cost
    • Fuel cost
    • Pad rat costs

    So basically Starlink costs.

  2. Because different singles are different than other multiples.

    When it comes to rocket engines you do not want to make bells too large because combustion instability is a real problem and it will blow your engine up.

    But in fairness single panel struck me as “odd” until I thought it through. I think you (like me) are thinking that having two panels would be ideal so that you have a redundant panel. 2x panels, means that you would be sending unnecessary mass to orbit, that you couldn’t pack them the same way and all this means more cost.

    The SpaceX approach is good because it is IKEA, not Ethan Allen.

  3. Those attempts didn’t work because the satellites didn’t work. Such capital intensive ventures die of a lack of funding to complete their constellation due to the risk potential; They die from a lack of operational income and an inability to complete their constellation which would provide that very income.

  4. Not so simple. Other attempts were based on launching with third party launchers, which would get their share for profit. And we are talking here of much more expensive launchers.

    SpaceX is the first player in the market able to launch 60 satellites for as low as 60 million in launch costs. 1 million to launch each satellite.

  5. Starlink may not be successful because other attempts at doing something similar did not work. But since its failure might bring don’t a lot more than just Starlink I do wish him luck.

  6. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say this is a genuine question.

    Let’s say the failure of an array occurs 10% of the time, once you add two arrays, this means for a single bird the failure rate because of losing an array is now 19%. This 19% is if you require both arrays for the spacecraft to be fully operational, but now what if each array could fully support the spacecraft on its own? In that case, the failure rate of the bird falls closer to 1%, but at what cost? An extra solar array might mean you can only launch a third as many birds. So the tradeoff is you get 40 up there fully operational with redundant arrays, or 60 up there with one array and 6 die from the solar array malfunctioning.

    This is much different for the F9 because you absolutely don’t want the rocket to suffer a complete failure, and so it was designed so it could lose multiple engines and still be operational.

  7. Because for different applications there are better solutions. For landing in thick atmosphere where there are a lot of vibrations, heat etc multiple engines provide redundancy. In space you have constant environment. You can do with one and save on costs.

  8. 2 arrays are only more resilient if you can operate with only one operational.
    If you need both arrays then it doesn’t help.

  9. If they believe the claim that “single is more reliable than multiple” with their systems design, why does the Falcon booster use 9 engines instead of just 1?

  10. “Starlink satellites are equipped with one solar array instead of two, minimizing potential points of failure”

    A bit counterintuitive, one might assume this makes it less resilient.

Comments are closed.