Musk: “1469 Starlinks are working”
January 18, 2022
By Chris Forrester
There are 1469 SpaceX Starlink satellite working correctly, according to Elon Musk. He tweeted that another 272 are moving toward their operational orbits. However, SpaceX has launched a total of 1993, according to Musk, which suggests that 252 satellites are not working or somehow didn’t make it to orbit.
Another 49 craft are scheduled to be launched on January 18th.
Jonathan McDowell, an acknowledged expert on Musk’s launch activity, said that one particular batch of 60 craft launched almost a year ago (officially V1.0-L22) in March 2021 had seen 12 satellites lowered and held at 350 kms altitude and thus suggesting a 20 percent failure rate. He summarises the situation as being perhaps “a bad batch?”
Musk added that the fleet would soon be activating the inter-satellite laser links on recently launched craft.
The addition of laser links is important and means that satellites equipped with the technology can by-pass Earth-based gateways and maintain extremely high-speed traffic to and from users. Laser linkages also mean a smoother operation.
The latest Starlink launches all include satellite equipped with suitable inter-satellite laser links.
Starlink has said that it now has more than 145,000 customers in 25 countries but a shortage of silicon chip-sets has slowed down the supply of new equipment to would-be consumers.