SpaceX could begin launching
the fourth of five orbital ‘shells’ of its first Starlink constellation as early as July
SpaceX applied for communications
permits known as “special temporary authority” licenses or STAs for a launch known as “Starlink Group 3-1”
“Group 3” refers to one of
five orbital “shells” that make up SpaceX’s 4408-satellite first-generation Starlink constellation.
Each shell can be thought of
more or less as, well, a shell – a thin layer of satellites more or less evenly distributed around the entire sphere of the Earth
3168 (~72%) of
4408 Starlink Gen1 satellites are assigned to just two of those five shells
And those two shells are
where SpaceX has almost exclusively focused since it began operational Starlink launches in November 2019.