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SpaceX kicks off 2022 with more Starlink satellites

A stack of Starlink satellites before a previous mission. Credit: SpaceX

Edinburgh, 4 January 2022. – SpaceX is aiming to start the new year with a Falcon 9 rocket flight this Thursday deploying the company’s next cluster of Starlink satellites.

The company’s 34th dedicated Starlink launch is carrying an undisclosed number of flat-panel satellites into orbit. The quarter-ton spacecraft use their krypton-fueled ion thrusters to maneuver to their operating orbits 540 km above Earth. SpaceX has launched 1,944 internet satellites so far and the long-term plan is to deploy 42,000 altogether.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently rejected criticism from ESA head, Josef Aschbacher, that Starlink was taking up more room is space than necessary. Musk said that as space was enormous and the satellites were tiny. This meant that there was enough room for “tens of billions” of space objects, according to him.

Some satellites fail after launch, while others are intentionally de-orbited by the company. The Starlink network is providing internet services to over 20 countries currently. SpaceX will use the revenue to fund the development of Starship, the spacecraft that will fly humans to Mars.

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