Washington – The first Starlink satellites launched into polar orbit have been equipped with laser-crossed links, a technology the company plans to add to other satellites next year.
SpaceX included 10 satellites from Starlink in its dedicated Transport Share 1 launch on January 24. These satellites are the first in the Starlink constellation that SpaceX has deployed in a polar orbit. After winning the FCC to do so on January 8th.
In tweets after the launch, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said that these satellites are equipped with laser connections between satellites. “These also contain laser links between satellites, so there is no need for ground stations over the poles,” he said. In response to one tweet about the launch.
Connections between satellites allow the satellites to transfer communications from one satellite to another, either in the same orbital plane or in an adjacent plane. These links allow operators to reduce the number of earth stations to a minimum, since the earth station no longer needs to be in the same satellite footprint as user stations, and to extend coverage to remote areas where earth stations are not available. They can also reduce latency, as the number of hops between satellites and ground stations is reduced.
SpaceX has tested inter-satellite links on other Starlink satellites, although they are not as widespread. During the Starlink launch webcast in September 2020, The company said it tested a “space laser” between two satellitesMigrate hundreds of gigabytes of data. “Once these space lasers are fully deployed, Starlink will be one of the fastest options available for transmitting data around the world,” the company said at the time.
musk , In another tweet, He said, SpaceX will roll out inter-satellite laser links to other Starlink satellites next year. “All satellites that will be launched next year will be equipped with laser links. Only our polar session has laser beams this year and it is 0.9.”