Falcon 9 launches 54 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit; completes SpaceX’s 60th mission of 2022. Starlink has launched the first batch of next-generation satellites into orbit early Wednesday to add even more broadband capacity to the network.
Around 0434 ET, a Falcon 9 rocket with 54 upgraded Starlink internet satellites was launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The payload was successfully delivered to low Earth orbit.
“Under our new license, we are now able to deploy satellites to new orbits that will add even more capacity to the network.
“Ultimately, this enables us to add more customers and provide faster service, particularly in areas that are currently oversubscribed,” Jesse Anderson, a SpaceX production and engineering manager, said during live launch commentary.
SpaceX’s Gen2 of Starlink will help expand bandwidth capacity for the already 3,330 first-generation satellites working to provide high-speed, low-latency internet to customers worldwide. This comes as the network faces congestion issues with many new customers.
On Dec. 1, the Federal Communications Commission approved SpaceX to launch 7,500 upgraded satellites into low Earth orbit. This was only a partial approval of what SpaceX initially wanted of 30,000 of these satellites orbiting the planet.
Starlink Gen2 satellites will be capable of beaming service directly to smartphones, Elon Musk has said. SpaceX plans to launch most of these satellites using its huge Starship rocket, which is still in development.