December 9, 2023

SpaceX is planning to launch as many rockets as it might over the following two-and-a-half months in an try to fly 100 flights by the tip of the yr, firm exec Invoice Gerstenmaier lately instructed the US Senate Subcommittee on Area and Science. He additionally revealed that the corporate has an much more bold objective for 2024: To launch round 12 flights a month, for a complete of 144 missions for the entire yr. In line with an organization official who talked to Ars Technica, SpaceX intends to ramp up its mission numbers subsequent yr, principally in order that it may formally roll out its satellite-to-cell telephone service.

“With our 2 million customers, (we) want that constellation refreshed,” the spokesperson instructed Ars. “We’re additionally going to take a look at direct to cell communications with Starlink, and that is a key function that will get added subsequent yr with these 144 flights.”

The corporate first introduced the service, which is able to permit regular smartphones to attach with its satellites, again in 2022. It made the revelation alongside T-Cellular, which promised to make the potential accessible to its subscribers. T-Cellular CEO Mike Sievert likened the expertise to placing a mobile tower within the sky and mentioned it may remove deadzones sooner or later, permitting individuals to simply get in contact with family members even when they’re in the course of the ocean. SpaceX VP of Starlink enterprise gross sales Jonathan Hofeller additionally mentioned earlier this yr that the corporate is gearing as much as begin testing the service.

As Ars notes, SpaceX beforehand mentioned that the potential would require bigger satellites that can launch onboard the corporate’s Starship automobile. The large rocket is but to be operational, although, and the corporate needed to design an intermediate-sized Starlink satellite tv for pc that may fly on its Falcon 9 rockets. That satellite tv for pc is larger than older fashions however smaller than those wanted to allow voice and information providers. SpaceX would not have plans to roll out Starlink voice and information till 2025, although, and can introduce its direct-to-cell functionality with texting protection solely subsequent yr.

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