SpaceX has not launched any Starlink broadband satellite since June. It turns out that this is due to the company's addition of 'lasers' to the spaceship. Amazon, on the other hand, is requesting that the Federal Communications Commission rule against SpaceX's plans because they are "too broad and speculative."
Since launching a set of Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit on June 30, SpaceX has been tight-lipped about the constellation's plans. This halt prompted concerns, as Starlink launches are expected to be regular in the first half of 2021. SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell discussed the break during the 36th annual Space Symposium, Space.com said.
According to Shotwell, they are now flying several laser terminals in space, and those lasers are being integrated into all of their Starlink satellites. She stated that their strategy has caused them to struggle for the past six or eight weeks.
In January 2021, these laser terminals, also known as laser crosslinks, were fitted to a batch of Starlink satellites. Satellites can use these linkages to send and receive data as well as communicate in other ways.
SpaceX expects that using this technology, each batch of satellites in the constellation will not require ground stations on Earth. Shotwell stated that making this adjustment might allow satellite internet service to reach places where ground stations cannot be installed.
The recent launch slowdown, however, will not last long. Shotwell stated at the conference that SpaceX plans to resume launching Starlink satellites in about three weeks.
Amazon Wants FCC To Scrap SpaceX's Plan
SpaceX's Starlink constellation continues to expand. The firm wants to give internet connectivity to individuals worldwide, even in rural places where there is presently no dependable internet. However, Space News said that Amazon then requests that the FCC reject SpaceX's updated second-generation Starlink proposal.
There are now approximately 1,600 Starlink satellites in space, with SpaceX filing paperwork for up to 42,000 satellites in the network. However, Shotwell stated that the firm is constantly considering ways to avoid collisions and limit dangers in orbit.
SpaceX suggested two possible configurations for almost 30,000 follow-on satellites on Aug. 18, breaking FCC guidelines that require specifics of a proposed modification to be decided before filing such an application, according to Amazon.
Although SpaceX intends to pursue only one of the alternatives, Amazon claims that applying for both increases the technical work operators must put in to assess the interference and orbital debris issues.
In a letter to the FCC, Amazon's broadband mega constellation venture, Project Kuiper, corporate counsel Mariah Shuman wrote that the consequences of the commission deviating from its rules and precedent and endorsing the approach of applying for multiple, mutually exclusive configurations would go far beyond the SpaceX Amendment.
Regardless of how inefficient this method is for the commission and parties responding to applications, Amazon believes that other potential licensees will recognize the value in detailing numerous configurations in their license applications.
None of Project Kuiper's planned broadband satellites have yet to be launched.
The Starlink network's second-generation offers faster speeds, reduced latency, greater backhaul capacity, and the potential to serve more people globally than the first.
Both options call for approximately 30,000 satellites in low Earth orbit, similar to SpaceX's original proposal for Starlink Gen2 last year. However, they seek to spread them out more equally among nine to 12 inclined orbits to increase coverage for rural areas, national security, and first responder clients.
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