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SpaceX pushing to launch 2nd generation Starlink satellites by March

Capitalism in space: In paperwork filed by SpaceX to the FCC, it has announced it is pushing to launch the first second generation Starlink satellites by March, 2022.

While some news reports have suggested that SpaceX intended to launch those upgraded satellites on Starship, this reporting is certainly wrong. As the article at the link correctly notes, SpaceX does not have to state what rocket it plans to use in its paperwork. It could very easily launch these first upgraded satellites on a Falcon 9.

The story however does provide this interesting tidbit about the FCC’s treatment of SpaceX in this licensing process:

SpaceX filed the first unmodified Gen2 Starlink application with the FCC in May 2020, requesting permission to launch an unprecedented 30,000 satellites. While the size of the proposed constellation is extraordinary, the FCC has also been exceptionally slow to process it. Only five months after SpaceX submitted its Starlink Gen2 modification request and nineteen months after its original Gen2 application did the FCC finally accept it for filing, which means that it has taken more than a year and a half to merely start the official review process. [emphasis in original]

In other words, the FCC stalled SpaceX for more than a year and a half. If the DC bureaucracy can play such games with Starlink, this suggests it might very well be doing the same with the approval of the environmental reassessment for SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility, which the FAA has now delayed repeatedly since last year. There are many people in Washington, both in the Biden administration and in the established and permanent bureaucracy, who do not like SpaceX’s success or its independence, and wish to use government power to squelch it. This story provides us some evidence that such misuse of government power in the FAA is very likely occurring.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Doubting Thomas

    Bob: Typo maybe?

    “In other words, the FAA stalled SpaceX for more than a year and a half. ”

    If the quote above your statement, from Teslarti is correct, then I think your statement should read “In other words, the **FCC** stalled….”

    I agree with the basic point, SpaceX is being slowed in getting Starship flown.

  • Doubting Thomas: You are correct. I mixed up the two agencies. I have now corrected the post. Thank you.

  • Mitch S.

    While Musk’s tweets and other comments probably don’t win him friends in the current admin, I suspect the real issue is the D.C. bureaucrats wanting their “vig”.
    Boeing, Lock-Mart, AT&T, Altice etc know how to spread the green around D.C.
    The D.C. crowd sees Musk’s personal wealth is greater than the market cap of Boeing and Loc-Mart combined and want to collect (they see themselves as rescuing SpaceX when it was struggling, they are probably furious that Musk is being so stingy (in their view of things).
    As Bob Z. would quote them: “That’s a nice rocket and bunch of sats ya got there Mr Musk. Would be a shame if ya can’t launch ’em”.
    Will Musk butt heads or will he not want to hold up his goals and end up hiring a K Street outfit to grease the palms?

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