SpaceX stated that the first “V2 Mini” satellites, which provide four times more capacity per satellite than earlier versions, will be deployed during a launch that takes place as soon as today. Starlink speeds are decreasing as a result of a growing capacity crunch.
The V2 Minis and the larger V2 are the second-generation satellites offered by Starlink. The V2 Minis are streamlined versions that can be deployed from the Falcon 9 rocket, whereas the larger V2s are intended for the SpaceX Starship, which is not yet fully prepared for launch.
In a statement that was provided to Ars yesterday, SpaceX stated, “The V2 Minis are smaller than the V2 satellites (hence the name) but don’t let the name fool you. The V2 Minis include more advanced phased array antennas and the use of E-band for backhaul, which will enable Starlink to provide ~4x more capacity per satellite than earlier iterations.”
Although SpaceX did not specify how much data each V2 Mini satellite could transmit, the company’s first-generation satellites were intended to have a total downlink capacity of 17 to 23Gbps per satellite. We will update this article if we receive a response from SpaceX regarding the specifics of the V2 Mini’s per-satellite capacity and whether current user terminals installed at customers’ homes can take full advantage of the speed increases.
SpaceX recently received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to launch 7,500 of the 30,000 planned second-generation satellites. 21 V2 Minis would be launched into orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch that is tentatively scheduled for today.
“Space weather is a watch item, with the two-minute launch window opening around 6:13 p.m. ET (23:13 UTC)… If needed, a backup opportunity is available on Tuesday, February 28 at 1:49 p.m. ET (18:49 UTC),” SpaceX said.
SpaceX and T-Mobile will use the larger V2 satellites, which can’t launch until Starship is ready, to send signals directly to cell phones in a partnership that was announced in August 2022.