The next generation of Starlink satellites will be bigger and more powerful, designed to deliver internet access to remote areas of the world, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. The billionaire recently discussed the details of the Starlink Gen2 system in the popular YouTube show, Everyday Astronaut. In the 32 -minute clip, Musk showed that SpaceX has already built the first Starlink 2.0 satellite. The next generation satellite is 7 meters long and weighs approximately 1.25 tons. The Starlink 1.0, in comparison, weighs approximately 260 kilograms. Excess weight represents a better satellite, according to Musk.
Think of it as how many pieces of useful data each satellite can do, “Musk said in the interview. Starlink 2.0 in terms of payload bits is almost an order of magnitude better than a Starlink 1.0.
As part of the growing megaconstellation of internet satellites, SpaceX first announced a new generation of its Starlink satellites in August 2021, designed to complement the first generation constellation currently being deployed by SpaceX, according to the company.
But heavier satellites are harder to cargo. Starlink satellites were lifted into low Earth orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, but the rocket was unable to carry Starlink 2.0. The Falcon has no volume or mass [pour la] orbit capacity is required for Starlink 2.0, Musk said. So even if we scaled down the Starlink satellite, the total mass of the Falcon would not be enough to make Starlink 2.0.
Instead, SpaceX is banking on Starship, a heavy rocket launch that is currently in development, but has already experienced many delays. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been working for several months on an environmental review of the Starship program to assess its impact, and the report is due by mid -June, although it has been presented several times, which Musk was very upset.
We need the Starship to work and fly often, otherwise Starlink will be grounded, ”Musk said in the interview.
Meanwhile, not everyone is aboard the second generation of Starlink satellites that explode in Earth’s low orbit. Earlier this year, NASA officials wrote a letter to the FAA expressing concern about Starlink 2.0 and the risk of a collision with various satellites and spacecraft of the space agency.
Musk is producing a megaconstellation of internet satellites, hoping to launch an impressive total of 42,000 satellites into orbit to deliver high-speed internet access to remote areas of the world. So far, SpaceX has approximately 2,300 working Starlink satellites placed in orbit.
The satellites are already getting criticism from various sources, including a group of researchers in China who recently wrote an article on ways to destroy satellites if they start to pose a national threat.
Starlink’s potential to help the U.S. military raises concerns
A recent article in the official journal of China’s armed forces suggested that the international community should be on high alert for the dangers associated with the Starlink satellite internet system, as it is possible the U.S. military will use it to dominate the world. outer space. The article came a day before SpaceX’s launch of the Falcon 9 rocket that soared on May 6 from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, carrying 53 Starlink internet satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO).
The article in China Military Online, the official news site affiliated with the Central Military Commission (CMC), China’s leading national defense organization headed by President Xi Jinping himself, outlines the role of SpaceX Starlink during the war . Russian-Ukrainian, where Elon Musk provided Starlink terminals to restore communications to parts of the country where Internet or telephone connections stopped following the bombing by Russian troops.
Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in parts of Ukraine following the invasion, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said. However, there are also Starlink reports that assisted the Ukrainian Armed Forces in accurate strikes against Russian tanks and positions, which Chinese military observers did not miss:
During the Russia-Ukrainian conflict, SpaceX provided high-speed Internet services to Ukraine by providing tons of satellite communication devices. In addition to supporting communication, Starlink, as experts estimate, can also communicate with drones and, using metadata and facial recognition technology, can already play a role in United States military operations. States. Ukraine against Russia.
SpaceX has decided to increase the number of Starlink satellites from 12,000 to 42,000 – the uncontrollable expansion of the program and the company’s ambition to use it for military purposes should put the international community on high alert.
Starlink helps Ukraine fight Russia
Ukrainian air reconnaissance unit Aerorozvidka used Starlink to track and coordinate drones allowing soldiers to fire anti-tank weapons with precision at the target. Only high system data rates can provide the required stable communication. “We use Starlink equipment and connect the drone team to our artillery team,” an official from Ukraine’s air reconnaissance unit, Aerorozvidka, told The Times. “If we use a thermal vision drone at night, the drone needs to connect via Starlink to the artillery guy and create target acquisition,” the official said.
Another notable development is SpaceX’s rapid response to a Russian jamming effort targeting its Starlink satellite service, which is appreciated by the Pentagon’s director of electromagnetic warfare. Elon Musk said Russia blocked Starlink terminals in Ukraine for several hours at a time, then he also said that following the software update, Starlink works normally.
And suddenly like this [attaque de brouillage russe] is no longer effective. “From the perspective of the Electronic Warfare technologist, it was incredible and the way they did it made me cry,” said Dave Tremper, director of electronic warfare for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in response to the allegations. claimed by Musk.
Starlink’s cooperation with the US military
The China Military Online article lists several cases since 2019 in which Starlink has collaborated with the U.S. military, which also includes the successful data transmission test conducted by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) on March 31:
Although Starlink claims to be a civilian program that provides fast Internet services, it has a strong military background, as evidenced by the fact that some of the launch sites were built within Vandenberg Air Force Base and the encrypted interconnection between Air Force satellites and the fighters is included in their technical validation tests.
In fact, Starlink has repeatedly collaborated with the U.S. military. In 2019, SpaceX received funding from the U.S. Air Force to test the ability of Starlink satellites to connect to military aircraft under encryption; in May 2020, the U.S. military signed an agreement with SpaceX to use Starlink broadband to transmit data over military networks; in October 2020, SpaceX won a $ 150 million contract to build satellites for military use; in March 2021, it announced plans to work with the U.S. Air Force to further test the Starlink internet.
Once completed, Starlink satellites can be mounted with reconnaissance, navigation and weather devices to further enhance the U.S. military’s combat capability in areas such as remote sensing reconnaissance, communications relay, navigation and positioning, attacks and collisions, and space shelters.
Clearly, the military applications of the Starlink program will give the U.S. military an early start on the future battlefield and will be an “accomplice” of the United States to continue to dominate space.
SpaceX monopolizes strategic resources in space
Another concern of Chinese military analysts is the lack of frequency band and orbital slots for the operation of satellites, which they say other countries are quickly gaining:
Orbital position and frequency are scarce strategic resources in space. Currently, the geosynchronous orbit is almost completely occupied, and the rush to the positions of low Earth orbit and medium Earth orbit has become more intense. LEO is capable of receiving approximately 50,000 satellites, more than 80% of which will be taken over by Starlink if the program launches 42,000 satellites as planned. SpaceX is conducting an enclosure movement in space to gain a lucrative position and monopolize strategic resources.
SpaceX has become a space “behemoth” controlling an entire independent industrial chain that includes the manufacture of satellites, the construction of ground stations, the launch and recovery of rockets, as well as the operation and service of rockets. satellite. If and when it is deeply connected to unmanned driving, IoT, cloud data and smart city, it will develop into a whole new industry and value chain, give birth to a massive Starlink biosphere and monopolize the future market of space applications. Monopoly and hegmony are twin brothers. It is likely that Starlink will be exploited by the United States obsessed with hegemony to plunge the world into another chaos or disaster.
China’s military observers have repeatedly said the United States is a step into space – seen as a battleground in the future of militaries around the world – as it rushes to establish a new generation of military -based communication. on the Capabilities of Satellite Internet
Sources: Interview by Elon Musk (video to text), FCC report
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