Thursday, April 18, 2024

SpaceX to Launch First ‘Starlink Direct to Cell’ Satellites


Get ready for another fantastic display of spaceflight as SpaceX prepares to launch its latest batch of Starlink internet satellites, including the first equipped with “Direct-to-Cell” capabilities. This new Starlink Direct to Cell satellite technology promises to revolutionize mobile connectivity by providing smooth texting, calling, and browsing anywhere on land, lakes, or coastal waters.

Liftoff Details

Liftoff is scheduled for Saturday, December 29th, with the Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 21 Starlink craft, set to take flight from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base during a 3.5-hour window opening at 12:09 AM Eastern Time (9:09 PM Pacific Time on December 28th). The launch will be streamed live on SpaceX’s X account (formerly Twitter), starting approximately 15 minutes before the liftoff.

Six satellites carry the innovative ‘Starlink Direct to Cell’ tech, paving the way for mobile network operators worldwide to offer global connectivity, regardless of user location. SpaceX stated in its mission description, “This launch will enable seamless global access to texting, calling, and browsing wherever you may be on land, lakes, or coastal waters.”

Reusable Rocket Power

The Falcon 9’s first stage will aim for a vertical landing on the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You” stationed in the Pacific Ocean approximately 8.5 minutes after liftoff. This marks this booster’s first launch and landing, adding more reliability to SpaceX’s impressive reusability efforts.

Deployment and Growth

The 21 Starlink Direct to Cell satellites are scheduled to be deployed into low Earth orbit about 62.5 minutes after the launch. With this mission, SpaceX continues to expand its Starlink mega constellation, which currently boasts over 5,100 active satellites and shows no signs of slowing down.

SpaceX and Internet Connectivity

2023 has been a busy year for SpaceX, with over 90 orbital missions completed, two test flights of their ambitious Starship Mars rocket, and the contract to land people on the moon with NASA. The Starlink constellation remains a primary focus of SpaceX, aiming to provide affordable and accessible internet access to remote and underserved areas worldwide. 

This launch marks a significant step towards bridging the digital divide and offering global connectivity solutions. With Starlink Direct to Cell satellites set to join the network, the future of mobile communication looks brighter than ever, promising smooth connections from mountain peaks to ocean shores.

Read more

Local News