As in the title, what is the maximum thrust (in N) that the satellites of the Starlink constellation can achieve? I read that they use Hall-effect thrusters, but I couldn't find a specification of the maximum thrusting force.

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    $\begingroup$ I think it should be described in SpaceX filing for authorization to deploy Starlink (FCC filing). The reason is that all constellations filed for operation in the US market must provide an analysis for debris generation mitigation (therefore including capability to maneuver and capability to actively dispose at end-of-life). $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ Maximum is unknown, but we can determine a minimum. They all change their orbital height at the same rate of 300km->500km in 30 days.(up or down, same slope). That's 114m/s of deltav, call it 134.5m/s with the continuous thrust vs impulse inefficiency. 134.5m/s on a 260kg craft over 30 days is 0.0135N $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ @CuteKItty_pleaseStopBArking You can multiply that number by 2, roughly - running a 500W ion thruster during night would be quite unlikely. $\endgroup$
    – asdfex
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 13:18
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    $\begingroup$ @asdfex, not sure. The communication payload requires large power (perhaps largest), so battery capability must be embarked for this function at "night". During orbit elevation, the com payload is not used. $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ @NgPh that's (potentially) a good point; they could use most of the available power during the non-operational elevation period. As an aside, I wonder if the thruster is variable power, or if it is only full thrust or off when doing station keeping and altitude maintenance (same thing I guess). So I've just asked Do operational Starlink satellites run their ion engines at night on batteries? And if so, do they have hi/low settings? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Nov 28, 2021 at 1:13


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