Thursday, February 22, 2018

SpaceX deploys first two Starlink demo satellites - Tintin A & B

SpaceX successfully launched the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) PAZ observation satellite on behalf of Hisdesat and two satellites of its own.

Hisdesat Servicios Estrat├ęgicos S.A. is an international commercial provider of X- and Ka-band satellite communications services for government. The company is based in Madrid, Spain. Its PAZ satellite is designed to capture Earth images with up to 25 cm resolution. For maritime monitoring, PAZ also features a sophisticated Automatic Identification System (AIS), simultaneously combining for the first time ship AIS signals and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery.

Tintin A & B are the first two demonstration satellites for SpaceX's planned Starlink broadband satellite service. Both were successfully deployed into polar orbit and are communicating with Earth stations.

In regulatory filing, SpaceX has revealed that its initial system will consist of 4,425 satellites operating in 83 orbital planes (at altitudes ranging from 1,110 km to 1,325 km).  The system will require associated ground control facilities, gateway earth stations, and end-user earth stations. The system will use Ka- and Ku-Band spectrum.  SpaceX has separately filed for authority to operate in the V-Band, where the company has proposed an additional constellation of 7,500 satellites operating even closer to Earth. To implement the system, SpaceX will utilise the availability of significantly more powerful computing and software capabilities.  On the launch broadcast for the PAZ satellite, SpaceX said quite a bit of development work remains ahead on its satellite constellation plans.

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