SpaceX Falcon 9 launched 54 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit. They were new Gen 2 technology but in the same Gen 1 form factor. It was SpaceX’s 60th mission of 2022.
SpaceX had 31 missions in 2021, 60 in 2022 and plans over 100 in 2023.
It is unclear what capabilities are in the smaller Gen 2 Starlink. Direct satellite to unmodified cellphones would require a very large antenna. The Gen 2 Starlink design had a 50 square meter foldout antenna. This would seem to be in the smaller Gen 2 satellites. These small Gen 2 Starlink satellites likely have the faster communication and some other capabilities.
SpaceX describe these as new Starlink technology and satellites that will go to new orbits to provide faster and better service particularly in oversubscribed areas.
Falcon 9 launches 54 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit; completes SpaceX’s 60th mission of 2022! pic.twitter.com/MIstToPIyL
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 28, 2022
SpaceX dominated commercial launch and was close to matching China for total successful orbital launches.
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