SpaceX is planning to test its Starlink user terminals on the Starship next-generation launch vehicle system, space reports recently said.
Specifically, the WCCF Tech Inc. reported, Starship is aiming to fulfill the foundational aim of SpaceX of making humans interplanetary and paying complement to its fast-moving culture. SpaceX is on track to carry out an orbital test flight of the system within a year of successful launch and landing of the upper-stage prototypes of Starship.
The description for these tests, this report specified, which SpaceX submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, states that through Starlink, the space firm is hoping to communicate with spacecraft that reached tremendously high temperatures while reentering the atmosphere of Earth and consequently, encounter a communications blackout.
If the tests succeed, then the network could help NASA astronauts as well, during their reentry to the atmosphere of Earth, as well as the Pentagon, with its hypersonic vehicles.
Details of the report have revealed that SpaceX intends to position Starlink dishes on the upper and lower stages of Starship during the highly-anticipated orbital flight of the system set to happen soon.
The application of the test also shows that this flight is not going to take place in June, and the earliest that observers can anticipate it to take place is next month.
The reason for this is that, in the application, David Goldsman, the director of satellite policy, has listed down the start date of the operation from August and is expecting it to conclude in October this year.
These terminals, the report stated, will be utilized to communicate with Starship "throughout its five-mission stages."
These comprise the vehicle that sits on the launch pad, during its ascent, the initial stage booster's landing, the flight of the second stage, and the eventual landing.
More essentially, as the space company notes in its FCC filing, through the test, Starlink can provide unmatched volumes of telemetry and allow communications during atmospheric reentry when ionized plasma around the spacecraft hinders conventional telemetry frequencies.
Furthermore, the tests will exhibit the ability of Starlink to enhance future orbital spaceflight missions' efficiency and safety.
As mentioned earlier, through these tests, Starlink will be able to test whether it is capable of overpowering the dreaded plasma communications blackout during the reentry of a spacecraft into the atmosphere of Earth.
During reentry, a spacecraft is heating the air below it to excessively high temperatures, reaching 3000 degrees Fahrenheit, for the Space Shuttle of NASA at 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit for the Crew Dragon of SpaceX.
NASA's Tracking Data Relay Satellite System
This then ionizes the air and produces a layer of plasma around the spacecraft, preempting radio waves from the spacecraft from reaching their target receivers.
For the Space Shuttle, the blackout lasted for 30 minutes, during which ground control stayed unaware of the status of the vehicle.
Nasa solved the problem by developing the Tracking Data Relay Satellite System or TDRSS, which received communication signals from the Shuttle via the tail section of the vehicle where a gap in the ionized air enabled signals to pass through.
A related report about Starlink is shown on VideoFrameSpace's YouTube's video below:
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