If you hold a keen interest in astronomy and Space, you will find this article interesting. SpaceX has developed several Starlink satellites that provide Internet around the globe. But we wonder how big those satellites can be! The question arises if it’s a size of a rocket or a normal space shuttle or any other space satellite orbiting around Earth. So, without further ado let’s dig into the real question here “how big is a Starlink satellite“?
How big is a Starlink satellite?
The Starlink satellite that first launched in 2018 was the first Gen satellite. The constellation name was Starlink Gen 1, and these are the ones that are still being launched. They were manufactured in-house and consisted of a SmallSat form factor. These weighed around 227 kgs/piece and around 3580 were launched out of 4408 of them. They should have been 400 kg according to FCC filing, but they managed to reduce the weight. The first technology demonstration mission flew in 2018, to see if the form factor worked properly or not. To know about Starlinks device specifications, have a look here.
Each Starlink satellite in its current form weighs approximately 573 pounds. 260 kilograms), as reported in the media. There are 3,271 Starlink satellites in orbit as of November 2022, of which 3,236 are operational. However, the next-gen contains some intriguing renderings. The length of the brand-new Starlink Generation 2 satellites is depicted as being 80% of the Starship’s diameter. The Starship rocket has a width of 9 meters.
This indicates that the Gen 2 satellites are 7 meters long and 3 meters wide in the renderings. The Gen 1 Starlink satellites have a width of 1.4 meters and a length of 2.8 meters. In terms of length and width, Gen 2 is more than double Gen 1. The fact that solar panels are likely twice as long does not prove this. The Gen 1 solar panels spread out to a length of 20 meters. Four times as much energy would be produced by the Gen 2 solar panels, which are probably twice as long and twice as wide.
How big is a standard satellite?
There is no universal size for government or commercial satellites. When a satellite is designed for a specific mission, it is meant to perform, and its size is determined. Cube satellites, which provide short-term flights for a variety of missions, have recently entered the market.
The smallest standard for these satellites is 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm, or 1U (with a mass of 3.1 kg). The large GEO satellites, on the other hand, have missions that last anywhere from 15 to 20 years. To know if you Starlink is down or not, take a peek.
They may be larger than a bus in the city. Solar arrays that “roll out” wings on some high-powered GEOs are used to power multiple missions on the same satellite. As big as the ones that power the International Space Station, these “roll out” or deployable wings can be.
Solar panels cover 27,000 square feet of their space now. The Space Station, on the other hand, is the exception, not the rule. It was constructed in pieces over many years through numerous supply missions for expansion. However, there is a new category of solar arrays that can be moved and can be placed on either side of a satellite.
These arrays can be as long as 40 feet. A satellite’s actual bus or platform (the core vehicle) can also be quite large. The launch rocket’s capability limits the bus’s mass and size.
What concerns the size and shape of the Starlink satellite?
Astronomers are concerned about the scope and size of the Starlink project. They worry that observing the universe will be hampered by bright, orbiting objects. This is in addition to experts in spaceflight safety who now consider Starlink to be the primary cause of collision hazards in Earth’s orbit.
So, some scientists are concerned that this amount of metal will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. As the planet’s old satellites are deorbited could cause unanticipated climate shifts. Click here to find out when Starlink will launch next. To know when Starlink’s next launch is, click here.