SpaceX Launches First Starlink ‘V2 Mini’ Satellites [VIDEO]
SpaceX on Monday launched the very first batch of its next-generation Starlink “V2 Mini” satellites into low Earth orbit (via Tesla North).
At 3:13 p.m. PT (6:13 p.m. ET or 23:13 UTC) on Monday, February 27, SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket that carried 21 second-generation Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
According to SpaceX, Starlink V2 satellites have 400% more capacity than previous iterations, offering more bandwidth and enhancing reliability for users around the globe.
The company said that its new V2 satellites are larger and designed to be launched by the Starship rocket system, but the ones that launched on Monday had been modified into “minis” to fit the faring on the smaller Falcon 9 rockets. They are also the first satellites ever to use Hall-effect thrusters fueled by argon in space.
“Developed by SpaceX engineers, they have 2.4x the thrust and 1.5x the specific impulse of our first-gen thrusters. This will also be the first time ever that argon Hall thrusters are operated in space,” said SpaceX yesterday.
Monday’s mission was SpaceX’s 174th successful landing of an orbital-class rocket, according to the company. Per Ars Technica’s Eric Berger, the mission also marked SpaceX’s 100th consecutive successful booster landing, a new milestone for the Elon Musk-run rocketry giant.
For perspective: There is no rocket active today, aside from the Falcon 9, that has 100 consecutive successful launches. Let alone landings.
— Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) February 27, 2023
Starlink is now available in 49 countries and territories worldwide, with Rwanda being the latest addition to the list. The high-speed satellite internet service hit one million subscribers late last year.
Earlier this month, SpaceX started testing a new “Global Roaming” service for Starlink, which costs $200 USD per month and provides an internet connection “almost anywhere on land in the world.”
You can watch a full replay of Monday’s Starlink V2 Mini launch below: