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SpaceX sends first batch of V2 Mini satellites into orbit for Starlink network.
Relatively recently, SpaceX literally amazed the world with the speed of deploying the Starlink telecommunications satellite constellation, but it seems that it overestimated its capabilities - in some regions, the prices for the corresponding connection are rising while the quality is falling due to the large number of active users. In order to solve the problem, SpaceX is preparing a new Gen 2 Starlink constellation, but so far transitional technical solutions are being tested.
It is known that the company intends to use the Starship spacecraft, which has never been in space, to launch a new generation of satellites into orbit. In the meantime, SpaceX sent V2 Mini satellites into orbit at 02:13 Moscow time on February 28, which will help overcome the transition period - due to weather conditions, the launch took place 5 hours later than planned.
A batch of 21 V2 Mini satellites set off on SpaceX's workhorse Falcon 9 booster. instance.
Starlink V2 is larger, significantly heavier and more powerful than previous generation models. Each of them will weigh 1130 kg and will be able, for example, to provide direct communication with smartphones. The company has already announced its intention to provide such services in 2023 in cooperation with the mobile operator T-Mobile.
The V2 Mini is smaller than the full size variants, but still significantly larger and more powerful than other communications satellites used by Starlink today. According to SpaceX, V2 Mini uses more powerful phased antennas and additional equipment with E-band support, giving the new version 4 times the throughput of previous generations of satellites. In addition, the satellites are equipped with Hall argon thrusters with increased thrust and specific impulse.
SpaceX has already launched more than 4,000 Starlink satellites into orbit, and more batches are on the way. The company has already received regulatory approval to launch 12,000 new satellites and has applied to launch about 30,000 more.