SpaceX Starlink to Change Initial Orbits

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(This picture was donated to the public domain by SpaceX.)

When SpaceX applied to launch the first phase of their Starlink constellation for space-based internet service, it was for an altitude of 550 km, 53 deg inclination in 24 planes of 66 satellites each for a total of 1584 spacecraft. However, they have applied for a change in the number of planes and the number of satellites in each plane. By using 72 planes of 22 satellites, SpaceX says that they can begin service to the lower US and the US island territories with half of the number launches.

This would allow SpaceX to begin generating revenue sooner, as well as get the end-to-end data services exercised with a smaller number of users to fine tune the whole system. Definitely a huge advantage over all of the potential competitors!

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