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SpaceX is installing Starlink Dish in an updated spacecraft prototype

SpaceX is installing Starlink Dish in an updated spacecraft prototype

In the latest long string of twists and turns, SpaceX has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) permission to operate a Starlink Internet antenna pinned to the Starship 15 (SN15) serial number.

The SN15 was the first in a planned series of four or more upgraded prototypes of spacecraft and was transported a mile from the SpaceX facility in South Texas to the sub-orbital launch pad last weekend. Around the same time that the rear armor section was being prepared for nose-mounting on April 3, some of the first 360-degree views of the missile revealed an unusual addition as an observation over the missile’s front armored dome. a ship. In 2019, Starships used this space between the tank and the arc cone as an anchor point for avionics, Tesla batteries, and a series of radio antennas and Global Positioning System (GPS).

The new device was usually under the radar, but most of those who noticed it assumed it was some kind of antenna update. In the end, these speculations were nearly correct – but they weren’t the most anticipated.

Starship SN15 is set to begin its qualifying test drive early Monday, April 12th. (NASASpaceflight – bocachikagal)

When the new SN15 antenna first appeared, The author speculated Which is amazingly similar to the SpaceX Starlink Antenna. However, another forum user argued that this is more of an improved S-band antenna, similar to that used on SpaceX’s Falcon rockets. The author Noticed later The passage of the S-band antenna in the middle stage of the Falcon boosters was roughly the same size as the new antenna and the visible cover on the SN15 spacecraft appears to be closing the case.

The S-band telemetry antenna on the Falcon 9 B1060 and the previously obscure antenna on the Starship SN15 are roughly the same size. Both missiles have an approximate scale here. (Richard Angel / NSF-Bokachikagal)

Nine days later, SpaceX asked the FCC for permission to operate the Starlink antenna (used station) in Boca Chica “at an altitude of 12.5 km or less” during operation “on the ground or during test flights.” In other words, the antenna installed on the Starship SN15 is almost certain to be the Starlink antenna. Surrounded by an aerodynamic cover, the antenna is firmly attached to the missile and will rely entirely on the latest progressive array beam configuration to electronically “direct” itself to one or more of the approximately 1,000 operational Starlink satellites. Located. Currently in orbit, both transmitters and receivers.

At the request of SpaceX’s Federal Special Communications Authority (STA), the company interestingly requested that the 60-day trial period start on April 20. Even if the FCC moves very quickly and awards STA within a few days to a week of the SpaceX app on April 9, the company is unlikely to delay testing or launching the Starship SN15 plans for nearly ten days pending permission to use a new Starlink rocket antenna. In other words, even though the SN15 is the first spacecraft to be fitted with a Starlink antenna, there is a good chance that it will not be the first to actually test this capability – either on Earth or during launch.

The fact that the installation of SpaceX’s Starlink StarsX SN15 antenna is almost as large as the reliable configuration of the Falcon 9, but is more basic in the S-range, is unlikely, but it also raises the question of whether it will be successful in test flights of the spacecraft. Added to future Falcon boosters. Regardless, Starship SN15 is well on its way to kick off a busy week of qualifying exams in South Texas. If the missile experiences significant delays, as is the case with prototypes of the spacecraft, there is a good chance that the SN15 will begin testing its Starlink projectile in the middle of next week.

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