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According to nextspaceflight.com the last Starlink flight of 2022 (possibly delaying into Jan 2023) is group 5-1 and is flying some kind of Starlink 2.0 payloads.

It was understood that Starlink 2.0's size precluded it from flying on a Falcon 9. It is designed to launch in Starship, two side by side, being about 7 meters long and 3 meters wide. The mass is also heaver at 1200 kg.

But with the delays in Starship flying orbital, it seems they are at least going to try some pathfinder missions (like Tintin 1 and 2 that were the first Starlinks launched, which looked nothing like the production Starlink).

How will they fit these much larger and heavier satellites in a Falcon 9 fairing and mass budget?

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2 Answers 2

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How will they fit these much larger and heavier satellites in a Falcon 9 fairing and mass budget?

They won't.

The Starlink 2 satellites being launched on Falcon 9 are specifically designed variants to be launched on Falcon 9 with different dimensions, lower mass, and a subset of the capabilities.

In the press event for the T-Mobile cooperation, Elon Musk called them "v2 Mini":

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  • $\begingroup$ Not sure we want to be saying v2 in the context of rockets $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2022 at 17:59
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Found some good stuff. Teslarti have an article about the Starlink 5-1 launch, speculating it is the Gen2 Starlink minis (as Jorg answered).

But they have a table in the middle that is interesting, based on the FCC filing from October 2022.

Starlink Version comparisons from Teslarati

They have the Mini Gen2 as 4.1 X 2.7 meters. Gen 1 is 2.8 X 1.3. So about twice the size. I.e. Where a stack of 60 Starlinks Gen1's is 30, side by side, this implies a max of 30 stacked on top of each other.

Mass wise, they have Gen2 at 800Kg, and Gen1 at 303Kg. So 30 is unlikely due to mass limits. A rough guess is 15,000kg divided by 800 to get 18-19 satellites on an F9 launch. Teslarati claims 21. We shall see. The exact max payload for a Falcon 9 to this particular orbit, with recovery, is not always obvious. (Available, but orbital details matter a great deal and are not really available).

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