SpaceX on Thursday filed plans that revealed for the first time details about its next-generation of Starlink satellites, and how the company plans to get them to orbit.
In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX referred to the new satellites as its “Gen-2 System”, saying the increased demand for broadband internet as one of the reasons for the new system.
“This Gen2 System was designed to complement the first-generation constellation SpaceX is currently deploying. While the original constellation provides unprecedented capacity for a satellite system, the demand for more broadband continues to grow unabated and the need for user connectivity has never been more important.” (via CNBC)
The Gen2 satellites are described as being heavier and larger than the satellites currently in orbit. The increased size will allow them to “support extended capabilities” on the network.
SpaceX also said the new satellites will be able to “accommodate additional payloads in the future,” hinting at the possibility of other companies piggybacking on the satellites for their own use.
That could result in a new, and potentially lucrative revenue stream for the company.
The filing also described how SpaceX eventually plans to move away from using its Falcon 9 rocket to launch the satellites into orbit and instead use Starship, which would bring with it a number of significant advantages.
The new payload delivery system would be able to handle 400 satellites in a single launch, a 467% increase from the current payload on a Falcon 9 rocket.
They would also be able to launch the satellites directly into their planned orbits and have them operational “within a matter of weeks after launch, rather than months,” the filing said.
After a two-month hiatus, SpaceX plans to launch their next batch of 60 satellites sometime this month.