SpaceX has announced that a new batch of Starlink satellites will be launched in two weeks, and it seems that a trend is in the making as the company could launch more than 1000 satellites in 2020. Two weeks ago, the company asked for the accreditation needed for Starlink-2, the second launch of v1.0 Starlink satellites.
A third launch will take place in January 2020, and it is estimated that up to 24 dedicated Starlink launches could take place in 2020, a feat that could overtake the previous record of 21 launches. It is known that SpaceX filed the documents required for media accreditation related to Starlink-2 on November 24, and 60 satellites should be launched into orbit before this year ends.
According to some sources, a successful launch will make SpaceX the largest private satellite operator, boosting the total number of satellites operated by the company to 170. Starlink 3, the third planned launch, will bring an additional 60 satellites into the low orbit.
Another batch of SpaceX Starlink satellites set to launch soon
According to some SpaceX executives, the cost of the of a Starlink launch fell considerably in comparison to the first one, which took place in May 2019. CEO Elon Musk and another high-ranking SpaceX employee have stated that the current cost is under $500,000, and it will continue to decrease in the future.
It is estimated that SpaceX pays $250,000 for each Starlink satellite, and a dedicated launch will cost $30 million (with $15 million in launch costs and another $15 million for the manufacturing of 60 satellites.
Other rivals are also hard at work on similar projects. OneWeb, the main rival, has acquired 21 Soyuz launches from Rocosmos in exchange for $1 billion. The company is also spending up to $1 million for the manufacturing of each satellite and aims to launch one batch per month. Only time will tell if the ventures will be successful.