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SpaceX launches Starlink satellites after upgrading user antennas

TAMPA, Florida – SpaceX successfully deployed 53 more Starlink satellites on November 13 in its first dedicated broadband constellation launch in two months.

A Falcon 9 carrying the last batch of Starlink satellites took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 7:19 a.m. EDT, a day after it was cleaned up due to bad weather.

All of the satellites have been successfully deployed to low Earth orbit where they will join the rest of the Starlink constellation, according to SpaceX.

The Falcon 9’s reusable first stage also landed on a SpaceX drone after successfully completing its ninth flight.

In addition to launching four other Starlink missions, the booster has been used on SpaceX’s Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-11, CRS-21 and Transporter-1 missions.

SpaceX’s last mission was the 25th launch of the Falcon 9 rocket in 2021. Several of these missions deployed Starlink broadband satellites to the rapidly expanding constellation.

To date, SpaceX has launched more than 1,800 Starlink satellites to develop global coverage.

The last dedicated Starlink launch mission took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on September 13 51 satellites in polar orbit.

Starlink Services

Starlink serves nearly 140,000 users in 20 countries, according to SpaceX offer has been made With the FCC on November 10, about 40,000 more than it reported in August.

He said he had received more than 750,000 “requests/deposits worldwide” for this service.

However, the shortage of silicon associated with the pandemic has delayed production and affected its ability to meet orders.

Antennas have been a major sticking point for the company as they are heavily subsidized to encourage adoption.

On November 10, the FCC approved a new Starlink antenna that SpaceX said would be cheaper to produce, although it continued to charge customers $499 for hardware needed to connect to Starlink services.

The new rectangular dish is also thinner and lighter than the previous circular dish.

Starlink beta users have been using a 23 inch wide 16 lb round user terminal where broadband has been available for over a year. They now have the option to purchase a dish that is 12 inches wide by 19 inches long and weighs 16 pounds.

The 12-inch-wide diameter matches the diameter of the antennas Amazon is developing for its planned Project Kuiper range.

However, the Kuiper project is still far from operational deployment of Starlink. On November 1, Amazon announced its intention to launch Two satellite prototypes for Project Kuiper For testing by the fourth quarter of 2022.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX Mobile World Congress said On June 29, it cost more than $1,000 to build its antennas, and aims to bring it down to about $250 or $300.

Speaking at the SpaceX symposium on August 24, SpaceX President and COO Gwen Shotwell said the company aims to reduce the cost of manufacturing its user stations. Half before the end of 2021“Then we think we’ll be able to halve that again.”