SpaceX Starlink V2 minis will be larger and more powerful than the Version 1.5 Starlink. SpaceX Starlink V2 mini will have more powerful phased array antennas and the use of E-band for backhaul—which will allow Starlink to provide ~4x more capacity per satellite than earlier iterations. SpaceX should launch the first Starlink V2 mini tomorrow.
SpaceX intends to operate up to three different types of Starlink satellites in its Starlink Gen2 constellation. The first variant is likely identical to the roughly 305-kilogram (~673 lb) Starlink V1.5 satellites that make up most of its Starlink Gen1 constellation.
The Starlink V2 Mini satellite will have two massive 52.5-square-meter (565 sq ft) solar arrays and a ‘wingspan’ of around 30 meters (~100 ft) and weigh about 800 lbs.
SpaceX is targeting Monday, February 27 at 1:38 p.m. ET (18:38 UTC) for a Falcon 9 launch of 21 second-generation Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. If needed, a backup opportunity is available on Tuesday, February 28 at 1:49 p.m. ET (18:49 UTC).
The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched CRS-26 and OneWeb Launch 16. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will land on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX has built full-sized Version 2 optimal satellites that weigh anywhere from 1.25-2 tons (2750-4400 lb) each, offer almost 10 times more bandwidth than V1.5 satellite. Those will need to be launched with Super Heavy Starship.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 will carry 21 V2 Mini satellites and that the rocket’s current payload record is 17.4 tons, each V2 Mini satellite likely weighs no more than 830 kilograms (~1830 lb).
Among other enhancements, V2 minis are equipped with new argon Hall thrusters for on orbit maneuvering pic.twitter.com/4G5nI3zsyX
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 26, 2023
V2 minis are equipped with new argon Hall thrusters for on orbit maneuvering. Developed by SpaceX engineers, they have 2.4x the thrust and 1.5x the specific impulse of SpaceX first gen thrusters. This will also be the first time ever that argon Hall thrusters are operated in space. SpaceX first gen ion thrusters were krypton ion drives.
Krypton is about one-sixth of the cost of xenon gas. It is about $500-1500/kg for krypton gas. It is $3000-10,000+/kg for xenon) has likely saved the company hundreds of millions of dollars. Argon gas is 1% of the cost of krypton gas. 99.999%-pure argon can be purchased in low volumes for just $5 to $17 per kilogram, and each Starlink V2 Mini satellite will likely need less than 80 kilograms. Per Satellite fuel costs drop from $40,000 to $120000 per satellite to $400-1600 each. Fuel costs for in space orbit keeping were about 20-40% of the cost of the satellite and now it is less than 1%.
SECOND GENERATION STARLINK SATELLITES
Since the original license to operate the Starlink Generation 1 network was granted in March 2018, SpaceX has rapidly deployed satellites to bring internet to the hardest to reach places in the United States and abroad. Five years later, SpaceX has launched nearly 4,000 satellites and is providing highspeed internet to more than one million locations around the world, the majority of which are households. Starlink continues to grow rapidly, and SpaceX has raced to keep up with a surging demand for connectivity across the United States and across the globe, especially in areas where few, if any, options for broadband connections have existed before now.
With the recent authorization of our second-generation network, or “Gen 2,” SpaceX will provide even faster speeds to more users. This new authorization enables SpaceX to launch additional, much-improved spacecraft with significantly more throughput per satellite than the first-generation systems. For the end consumer, this means more bandwidth and increased reliability. As a result, millions of more Americans will have access to high-speed internet no matter where they live.
V2 minis include key technologies—such as more powerful phased array antennas and the use of E-band for backhaul—which will allow Starlink to provide ~4x more capacity per satellite than earlier iterations
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 26, 2023
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.
3 thoughts on “SpaceX Starlink Version 2 Mini Will Have 4X Version 1.5 Capacity”
Thanks for this great analysis.
I made a slide about it on Twitter (and a video interview with Herbert.)
Let me know what you think Brian! Some of my numbers may be wrong.
Thanks, Your analysis is good too. We should talk. I will email you. I put up a new article based on your work.
So, SpaceX is launching large solar power panels into space, equipped with phased array transmitters….
I know Musk has dismissed the idea of SPS, but they sure are getting lots of relevant experience.
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