Elon Musk details the next generation of Starlink satellites, which are designed to be stronger than their predecessors.

According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the next generation of Starlink satellites will be larger and more powerful, designed to provide Internet access in remote areas of the world. The billionaire recently discussed the Starlink Gen2 system in detail on the popular YouTube show, Everyday Astronaut. In a 32-minute clip, Mask reveals that SpaceX has already built the first Starlink 2.0 satellite. The next generation satellite is 7 meters long and weighs about 1.25 tons. The Starlink 1.0, by comparison, weighs about 260 kilograms. According to Musk, the extra weight represents a more efficient satellite.

Think about how many bits each satellite can generate useful data, “Musk said in an interview.

As part of the growing megaconstellation of Internet satellites, SpaceX first announced a new generation of its Starlink satellites in August 2021. According to the company, SpaceX is designed to complement the first-generation galaxy currently in place.

Heavy satellites, however, are more difficult cargo. Starlink satellites are launched into low Earth orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket, but the rocket will not be able to carry Starlink 2.0. The Falcon has no size or mass [pour la] Starlink 2.0 requires orbital capabilities, Musk says. So even though we have reduced the Starlink satellite, the total mass of the Falcon is not enough to make Starlink 2.0.

Instead, SpaceX is banking on Starship, a heavy launch rocket that is currently under development, but has already suffered considerable delays. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been working for months on an environmental review of the Starship program to assess the impact, and the report is due in mid-June, although it has been tabled several times, much to the disappointment of many. Musk.

We need starships to work and to fly frequently, otherwise Starlink will be grounded, “Musk said in an interview.

Meanwhile, not all of the second-generation Starlink satellites explode in low-Earth orbit. Earlier this year, NASA officials wrote a letter to the FAA expressing concern about the risk of collisions with Starlink 2.0 and the space agency’s various satellites and spacecraft.

Musk is building a megaconstellation of Internet satellites, hoping to launch an impressive total of 42,000 satellites into orbit to provide high-speed Internet access to remote areas of the world. To date, SpaceX has about 2,300 functional Starlink satellites in orbit.

The satellites are already under fire from various sources, including a group of Chinese researchers who recently wrote an article about ways to destroy satellites if they begin to pose a national threat.

Starlink’s potential to help the US military raises concerns

A recent article in the Official Journal of the Chinese Armed Forces suggested that the international community should be on high alert for the risks associated with the Sterlink satellite Internet system, as the US military could potentially use it to dominate the world. The article comes a day before the launch of SpaceX after SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched 53 Starlink Internet satellites from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 6 into low Earth orbit (LEO).

China’s military online article, the official news site affiliated with the Central Military Commission (CMC), notes the role of SpaceX Starlink during the Russian-Ukrainian war, provided by Elon Musk, China’s top national defense agency led by President Xi Jinping. Starlink terminals to restore communications in parts of the country where Internet or telephone connections were cut off after a bombing by Russian troops.

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, says Starlink was the only non-Russian communications system still operating after the invasion of parts of Ukraine. However, Stirling has also been reported to have assisted Ukraine’s armed forces in launching accurate attacks against Russian tanks and positions, which Chinese military observers have not missed:

During the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, SpaceX donated high-speed Internet services to Ukraine by donating a number of satellite communication devices. In addition to supporting communications, Starlink, as experts have speculated, could communicate with drones and, using metadata and facial recognition technology, could already play a role in U.S. military operations. Ukraine vs. Russia.

SpaceX has decided to increase the number of Starlink satellites from 12,000 to 42,000 – the uncontrolled expansion of the program and the company’s ambition to use it for military purposes should keep the international community on high alert.

Starlink helps Ukraine in its war against Russia

The Ukrainian Air Reconnaissance Unit Aerorozvidka uses Starlink to monitor and coordinate drones that allow soldiers to fire anti-tank weapons accurately at targets. Only high system data rates can provide the necessary stable communication. “We are using Starlink equipment and connecting the drone team with our artillery team,” Ukraine’s Air Reconnaissance Unit, Aerorozvidka, told the Times. “If we were to use a thermal vision drone at night, the drone would have to connect to Artillery Guy via Starlink and create a target acquisition,” the officer said.

Another notable development was the rapid response to a Russian jamming effort targeting SpaceX’s Starlink satellite service, which was praised by the Pentagon’s director of electromagnetic warfare. Elon Musk claimed that Russia had blocked Ukraine’s Starlink terminals for several hours at a time, then added that after a software update, Starlink was working normally.

And suddenly this [attaque de brouillage russe] Was no longer effective. “From an electronic warfare technologist’s point of view, this is great, and the way they did it makes me cry,” said Dave Tremper, director of electronic warfare in the Secretary of Defense’s office, in response to Musk’s claim.

Starlink’s collaboration with the US military

The China Military Online article lists a number of cases since 2019 where Starlink has collaborated with the U.S. military, including a successful data transmission test conducted by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) on March 31:

Although Starlink claims to be a civilian program that provides high-speed Internet service, it has a strong military background, proving that some launch sites are built between Vandenberg Air Force Base and Air Force Satellite and encrypted interconnection. Fighters were included in their technical verification tests.

In fact, Starlink has repeatedly collaborated with the US military. In 2019, SpaceX received funding from the U.S. Air Force to test the ability to connect Starlink satellites to military aircraft under encryption; In May 2020, the U.S. military signed an agreement with SpaceX to use Starlink broadband to transmit data to military networks; In October 2020, SpaceX won a 150 million contract to develop a satellite for military use; In March 2021, Starlink announced plans to work with the U.S. Air Force to further test the Internet.

Once completed, Starlink satellites can be mounted with restart, navigation and weather devices to further enhance the US military’s combat capability in areas such as reconnaissance remote sensing, communication relays, navigation and positioning, attack and collision, and space shelter.

Clearly, the military applications of the Starlink program will give the U.S. military a major start in future warfare and become a “partner” of the United States in maintaining space dominance.

SpaceX monopolizes strategic resources in space

Another concern of Chinese military analysts is the lack of frequency bands and orbital slots for managing satellites, which they say other countries are rapidly acquiring:

Orbital position and frequency are rare strategic resources in space. At present, the geosynchronous orbit is almost completely occupied, and the rush towards the position of the lower Earth orbit and the middle Earth orbit has become more intense. LEO is capable of accommodating about 50,000 satellites, of which more than 80% will receive Starlink if the program launches 42,000 satellites as planned. SpaceX conducts a peripheral movement in space to take a convenient position and monopolize strategic resources.

SpaceX has already become a space “behemoth” that controls a completely independent industrial chain that integrates the creation of satellites, the construction of ground stations, the launch and retrieval of rockets, as well as the operation and services of satellites. If and when it is deeply connected to unmanned driving, IoT, cloud data and smart city, it will evolve into a whole new industry and value chain, give birth to a huge Starlink biosphere and be exclusive to the future market of space applications. Monopoly and Hegmoni are twin sisters. The possibility is that the dominant United States will exploit Starlink to plunge the world into another chaos.

Chinese military observers have repeatedly said that the United States is one step ahead in space – which military forces around the world see as the battlefield of the future – as it rushes to establish a new military communications network. Generation based on satellite internet capability.

Source: Elon Musk interview (text video), FCC report

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