Starlink’s Orbital Period: How Long Does it Take to Circle the Earth?
Starlink, the satellite internet constellation project by SpaceX, has been making headlines since its launch in 2019. With the aim of providing high-speed internet to even the most remote areas of the world, Starlink has already launched over 1,500 satellites into orbit. But have you ever wondered how long it takes for these satellites to circle the Earth?
The answer lies in the concept of orbital period. Orbital period is the time it takes for a satellite to complete one orbit around the Earth. For Starlink, the orbital period is approximately 90 minutes. This means that every 90 minutes, a Starlink satellite completes one full orbit around the Earth.
But why is the orbital period of Starlink important? Well, it determines the coverage area of the satellite. Since the satellites are in a low Earth orbit, they are constantly moving relative to the Earth’s surface. This means that as they orbit, they cover different areas of the Earth. With a 90-minute orbital period, each Starlink satellite covers a different part of the Earth every 90 minutes.
In addition to the orbital period, the altitude of the satellite also plays a role in determining its coverage area. Starlink satellites are currently in a low Earth orbit of around 550 kilometers. This altitude allows for a wider coverage area compared to higher altitudes, but also means that the satellites need to orbit the Earth more frequently to maintain their position.
So, how many times does a Starlink satellite orbit the Earth in a day? With an orbital period of 90 minutes, a Starlink satellite completes approximately 16 orbits in a day. This means that every 24 hours, a Starlink satellite covers a different part of the Earth 16 times.
But the number of orbits per day can vary depending on the altitude of the satellite. For example, a satellite in a higher orbit would have a longer orbital period and therefore complete fewer orbits in a day. Similarly, a satellite in a lower orbit would have a shorter orbital period and complete more orbits in a day.
It’s also worth noting that the number of Starlink satellites in orbit is constantly increasing. With plans to launch thousands more satellites in the coming years, the coverage area of Starlink will continue to expand. This means that more and more people around the world will have access to high-speed internet, even in the most remote areas.
In conclusion, the orbital period of Starlink is approximately 90 minutes, which means that each satellite completes one full orbit around the Earth every 90 minutes. With a low Earth orbit of around 550 kilometers, each satellite covers a different part of the Earth every 90 minutes and completes approximately 16 orbits in a day. As the number of Starlink satellites in orbit continues to increase, the coverage area of the project will expand, bringing high-speed internet to even more people around the world.