Starlink Satellites Mass Production Effect On Space Industry
So SpaceX is planning to produce tens of thousands of satellites (the last known digit is about 42 000 satellites) for LEO. Probably they don't want to produce very slowly during the next decade or more. We can't for sure say how much time they give to the full constellation to be unfolded but let's guess it's no more than 5 years. 5 years will probably be time for replacing old satellites with new ones. So we can assume they will be producing about 8 thousand satellites per year. It's quite a lot per year and will have very nice consequences on the space industry economics. Let's elaborate.
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Starlink For Planets and Moons of The Solar System - How Many Are Enough For A Full Coverage
We will take as a base count the Earth Starlink satellites for a full coverage - 1500 satellites. They are flying at an altitude of about 550 km. The Earth's radius is 6371 km. So full radius of the Starlink satellites sphere is 6871 km. The Square of this sphere is 601932181 km2. So it's 1 satellite per 401 288 km2. Now we can calculate in ballpark how many satellites there will be needed for any other body of the Solar system.
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Gravity and drag losses of some launch vehicles
To get a better view of the settings of different vehicles here is the numbers:
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SpaceX mass into orbit in 2022 with Starships in comparison with Falcon9 in 2021
SpaceX put around 300t mass into orbit in 2021 with Falcon9 and it required 33 launches. Quite a lot and probably it's maximum for Falcon9 per year with current launchpads and SpaceX team. To launch more it will probably require to spend more money but its spending will be rather ineffective. Falcon9 probably fully used its capacity for launches per year and mass to orbit. It starting to look obsolete in the background of the dawn of Starship system launches. Let's compare it with 2022 cadence of the Starship system.
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Why Inspiration4 mission means for future of human spaceflight more than it looks like
With the fully private mission of SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, we probably will see a much bigger interest in human spaceflight from commercial sectors. A flight to space won't' be very cheap in close perspective (at least aboard Dragon spacecraft) but it probably will be cheaper than it was from NASA. But this mission will move human spaceflight from awkward governmental machine to fast iterating commercial sector. And that's why it's a really big thing.
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