New Delhi: Elon Musk is banking upon SpaceX’s next-generation Starship rocket in order to send next-generation Starlink 2.0 satellites into orbit to beam affordable Internet services to more developing countries and remote areas.
Speaking at YouTube show ‘Everyday Astronaut,’ Musk said that “we need Starship to work and to fly frequently, or Starlink 2.0 will be stuck on the ground”.
“Falcon 9 rocket has neither the volume nor the mass to orbit capability required for Starlink 2.0. Even if we shrunk the satellite down, the total up mass of Falcon is not nearly enough to do Starlink 2.0,” Musk said late on Tuesday.
The Falcon 9 rockets sent the first generation of Starlink satellites into space.
The Starlink 2.0 has already been developed, weighing about 1.25 tonnes and measuring about seven meters long.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has delayed the completion of its environmental review of SpaceX’s Starship program to June 13.
That review, known as a programmatic environmental assessment (PEA), is gauging the environmental impacts of SpaceX’s Starbase site in South Texas in the US, reports Space.com
SpaceX cannot launch the orbital test mission without a passing grade from the final PEA. And that’s not the only regulatory box that needs to be checked.
SpaceX is developing Starship to take people and cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond. The vehicle consists of two elements: a first-stage booster called Super Heavy and an upper-stage spacecraft known as Starship, Space.com reported.
“We’ll have 39 flightworthy engines built by next month, then another month to integrate, so hopefully in May for orbital flight test,” Musk said in a tweet in April.
Starship and Super Heavy are both designed to be completely and rapidly reusable, and both will be powered by SpaceX’s new Raptor engine – 33 for Super Heavy and six for Starship.
“It’s a challenge to build so many engines, but SpaceX is on track to have enough for the first Starship orbital test flight soon,” Musk said.