SpaceX briefly halts Starlink launches to install lasers in satellites

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SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) has reportedly paused the launch of the Starlink constellation since June 30th to fly laser terminals in space and integrate lasers to its internet satellites.

For the record, Starlink’s beta service was launched in September 2020. Less than a year after its rollout, around 100,000 user terminals have been shipped worldwide, with SpaceX boasting 90,000 users for its internet satellite services in 12 countries alone.

These laser crosslinks were integrated into a batch of Starlink Satellites in January 2021, cited sources with relevant information. The links enable satellites to communicate with one another and transfer information with ease.

With this technology, SpaceX is aiming to eliminate ground stations and provide satellite internet coverage in remote areas with unreliable internet connectivity as well as places where ground stations cannot be built.

The California-based company has filed the paperwork for 42,000 satellites for the Starlink constellation, 1600 of which are already in orbit. This number will continue to grow with plans to start launching satellites in the next three weeks.

The President and Chief Operating Officer of SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell was quoted saying that the company is flying various laser terminals in space. She further added that SpaceX wants to integrate the next set of satellites to have laser terminals.

According to reliable sources, SpaceX is also working on preventing collisions and minimizing risks in the orbit by employing autonomous collision avoidance technology.

In related news, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that the company might launch NASA’s Artemis human landing system to the moon sooner than 2024 using the new Starship rocket. The news comes amidst several protests by rival aerospace companies such as Dynetics and Blue Origin LLC.

 Source Credits –

https://www.space.com/spacex-starlink-internet-satellites-lasers-launch