SpaceX Plans Starlink Gen2 Launches Every Week in 2023, Reveals Filing

SpaceX is looking to increase the frequency of its rocket launches, starting with weekly launches and eventually ramping it up to about once every few days, according to a report from PC Mag.

The plan was mentioned in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday about the company’s second-generation Starlink satellites, set to include almost 30,000 units in orbit once the launches are complete.

“Although its specific launch cadence is being finalized, SpaceX anticipates launching satellites into the Gen2 constellation at a rate of at least once per week during 2023, with a more rapid cadence over time,” said SpaceX in the filing.

Additionally, the filing mentions that SpaceX plans to use the reusable Starship spacecraft to carry between 50 and 100 second-gen Starlink satellites into orbit with each launch.

In 2019, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell estimated that Starship would be able to carry 400 satellites per launch, though the company’s second-gen satellites are substantially larger.

The Filing also lists the specs for the second-gen satellites, including the overall mass of each unit. Still, PC Mag notes that the numbers have likely been inflated to avoid leaking unnecessary details to competitors.

Photo: SpaceX / FCC

The trusty Falcon 9 rocket will also launch some Gen2 Starlink satellites, but these will be smaller in size, sending up 20 to 60 satellites at a time. Gen2 Starlink satellites weigh 1.2 tons (2,400 pounds), or about 3.5 times heavier than its predecessors. These bigger and newer Starlink satellites will be powering the T-Mobile and SpaceX plan for worldwide cellular coverage.

SpaceX had two launches this week: one carrying the NASA Crew-5 Mission astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and the other sending 52 Starlink satellites into orbit.