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posted by chromas on Saturday March 31 2018, @04:44AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the ping6-from-outer-space dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

The Federal Communications Commission approved an application by Space Exploration Holdings, doing business as SpaceX, to provide broadband services using satellite technology in the United States and around the world. With this action, the Commission takes another step to increase high-speed broadband availability and competition in the United States.

This is the first approval of a U.S.-licensed satellite constellation to provide broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies. SpaceX proposed a satellite system comprised of 4,425 satellites and was granted authority to use frequencies in the Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14 GHz) bands to provide global Internet connectivity.

From Techcrunch:

The company has already launched test versions of the satellites, but the full constellation will need to go out more than two at a time. SpaceX eventually plans to launch 12,000 of the things, but this authorization is for the high-altitude group of 4,425; a separate authorization is necessary for the remaining number, since they'll be operating at a different altitude and radio frequency.

-- submitted from IRC


Original Submission

Related Stories

SpaceX Requests Permission to Launch an Additional 30,000 Starlink Satellites, to a Total of 42,000+ 12 comments

SpaceX submits paperwork for 30,000 more Starlink satellites

SpaceX has asked the International Telecommunication Union to arrange spectrum for 30,000 additional Starlink satellites. SpaceX, which is already planning the world's largest low-Earth-orbit broadband constellation by far, filed paperwork in recent weeks for up to 30,000 additional Starlink satellites on top of the 12,000 already approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC, on SpaceX's behalf, submitted 20 filings to the ITU for 1,500 satellites apiece in various low Earth orbits, an ITU official confirmed Oct. 15 to SpaceNews.

[...] In its filings, SpaceX said the additional 30,000 satellites would operate in low Earth orbit at altitudes ranging from 328 kilometers to 580 kilometers.

[...] It is not guaranteed that, by submitting numerous filings, SpaceX will build and launch 30,000 more satellites. Tim Farrar, a telecom analyst critical of SpaceX, tweeted that he was doubtful the ITU will be able to review such big filings in a timely manner. He sees the 20 separate filings as a SpaceX effort to "drown the ITU in studies" while proceeding with its constellation.

Nothing a Starship can't launch.

Starlink.

More coverage:


Original Submission

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Fired Managers and Employees in June to Shake Up Starlink Project 16 comments

Elon Musk went on firing spree over slow satellite broadband progress

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently "fired at least seven" managers in order to speed up development and testing of satellites that could provide broadband around the world, Reuters reported today.

SpaceX denied parts of the story, saying that some of those managers left of their own accord and that the firings happened over a longer period of time than Reuters claimed.

[...] Among the fired employees were SpaceX VP of Satellites Rajeev Badyal and top designer Mark Krebs, Reuters wrote. "Rajeev wanted three more iterations of test satellites," Reuters quoted one of its sources as saying. "Elon thinks we can do the job with cheaper and simpler satellites, sooner."

Reuters described a culture clash between Musk and employees hired from Microsoft, "where workers were more accustomed to longer development schedules than Musk's famously short deadlines." Badyal is a former Microsoft employee, while Krebs previously worked for Google."

Apparently, the test satellites work:

"We're using the Tintins to explore that modification," one of the SpaceX employee sources said. "They're happy and healthy and we're talking with them every time they pass a ground station, dozens of times a day."

SpaceX engineers have used the two test satellites to play online video games at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California and the Redmond office, the source said. "We were streaming 4k YouTube and playing 'Counter-Strike: Global Offensive' from Hawthorne to Redmond in the first week," the person added.

Also at SpaceNews and TechCrunch.

Related: SpaceX Deploys Broadband Test Satellites, Fails to Catch Entire Fairing
FCC Authorizes SpaceX to Provide Broadband Satellite Services
SpaceX Valued at $25 Billion... and More
SpaceX Starlink Satellite Prototypes Include Packed, Flexible Solar Arrays


Original Submission

SpaceX and OneWeb Clash Over Proposed Satellite Constellation Orbits 6 comments

SpaceX's Starlink satellite lawyers refute latest "flawed" OneWeb critique

After years of relentless legal badgering from internet satellite constellation competitor OneWeb, SpaceX's regulatory and legal affairs team appears to have begun to (in a professional manner) lose patience with the constant barrage.

On February 21st, SpaceX published a withering refutation of OneWeb's latest criticism that offered a range of no-holds-barred counterarguments, painting the competitor – or at least its legal affairs department – as an entity keen on trying to undermine Starlink with FCC-directed critiques based on flawed reasoning, false assumptions, misinterpretations, and more. Alongside a number of memorable one-liners and retorts, legal counselors William Wiltshire and Paul Caritj and SpaceX executives Patricia Cooper and David Goldman openly "wonder whether OneWeb would be satisfied with SpaceX operating at any altitude whatsoever."

In late 2018, SpaceX filed a request with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) that would allow the company to significantly modify parts of its Starlink satellite constellation license, cutting 16 spacecraft from the original total of 4425 and moving Phase 1's now-1584 satellites from an operating altitude of ~1100-1300 km (680-810 mi) to just 550 km (340 mi). Aside from further reducing the latency of communications, SpaceX also argues that "the principal reason" behind lowering the operational altitude of the first ~37% of Starlink satellites was "to [further] enhance the already considerable space safety attributes of [the] constellation."

[...] [There] is a great deal more irony to be found in OneWeb's attempt to block SpaceX from lowering the orbit of its first ~1600 satellites. In 2017 and 2018, the company repeatedly complained to the FCC about the fact that SpaceX's Starlink constellation was to nominally be placed in orbits from ~1100-1300 km, effectively sandwiching OneWeb's own ~1200 km constellation. OneWeb continues to demand an unreasonable level of special treatment from the FCC, hoping that the commission will allow it to establish a sort of buffer zone extending 125 km above and below its own constellation, basically demanding that a huge swath of low Earth orbit be OneWeb's and OneWeb's alone. In reality, this is likely nothing more than a thinly veiled anti-competitive tactic, in which success would almost entirely bar other prospective space-based internet providers from even considering the same orbit.

Starlink and OneWeb satellite constellations.

Related: Competing Communications Constellations Considered
Airbus and OneWeb Begin Building Satellites for Internet Constellation
FCC Authorizes SpaceX to Provide Broadband Satellite Services
U.S. Air Force Awards SpaceX $28.7 Million to Study Military Applications of Starlink
Blue Origin to Provide Multiple Orbital Launches for Telesat
SpaceX Seeks Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations, Faces Pentagon Audit


Original Submission

U.S. Air Force Awards SpaceX $28.7 Million to Study Military Applications of Starlink 5 comments

SpaceX's Starlink eyed by US military as co. raises $500-750M for development

In a reasonably predictable turn of events, SpaceX has been awarded a healthy $28.7M contract to study, develop, and test possible military applications of its prospective Starlink internet satellite constellation.

Previously reported by Teslarati in August 2018, FCC applications related to Starlink revealed that SpaceX had plans to develop and test Starlink interconnectivity with conformal antenna arrays installed on aircraft, all but directly pointing to military involvement with a reference to the need for aerial maneuvers "[representative] of a high-performance aircraft."

Around the same time as those FCC documents surfaced, the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) spoke with AviationWeek about plans to experiment with the potential capabilities offered by a flurry of proposed low Earth orbit (LEO) internet satellite constellations, including the likes of SpaceX's Starlink, OneWeb, a Telesat network, and others. While no specific companies were fingered in AFRL's public statements, it was far too convenient to be a coincidence. Four months later, the below transaction was published in the Department of Defense's running list of new contract awards:

"[SpaceX], Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a $28,713,994 competitive, firm-fixed-price ... agreement for experimentation ... in the areas of establishing connectivity [and] operational experimentation ... [and] will include connectivity demonstrations to Air Force ground sites and aircraft for experimental purposes. For the proposed Phase 2, the awardee proposes to perform experiments [with] early versions of a commercial space-to-space data relay service and mobile connectivity directly from space to aircraft." – Department of Defense, FBO FA8650-17-S-9300

Previously: FCC Authorizes SpaceX to Provide Broadband Satellite Services
SpaceX Starlink Satellite Prototypes Include Packed, Flexible Solar Arrays
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Fired Managers and Employees in June to Shake Up Starlink Project
Elon Musk's SpaceX Is Raising $500 Million in Funding; Now Valued at $30.5 Billion


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday March 31 2018, @05:19AM (4 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 31 2018, @05:19AM (#660731) Journal
    So more than 4k satellites and eventually up to 12k of them? That'll be game changing in several ways. It's more than an order of magnitude larger than the proposed Teledesic [wikipedia.org] constellation which would have topped out at 840 satellites, which is as far as I know the largest constellation proposed prior to this decade.

    Among other things, this will probably finally push everyone into coming up with systems for removing space debris.
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday March 31 2018, @06:02AM (3 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 31 2018, @06:02AM (#660738) Journal

      Among other things, this will probably finally push everyone into coming up with systems for removing space debris.

      Take a guess who will be the one to launch and deploy those systems?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Saturday March 31 2018, @06:27AM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 31 2018, @06:27AM (#660745) Journal
        You think there might be a bit of "vertical" integration here?
        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by takyon on Saturday March 31 2018, @06:42AM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Saturday March 31 2018, @06:42AM (#660751) Journal

          I've heard that the BFR could be used to capture space debris. In fact, you could bring it back down and into a museum.

          You could imagine NASA paying for a relatively cheap recapture of large pieces of debris as well as old satellites. You could get a lot of them inside the BFR fairing, and they would survive to be put in the National Air and Space Museum. SpaceX gets the added benefit of reducing some threats to its satellites and opening up some new orbits... and it would be the entity with by far the most sats in orbit under its Starlink plans.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 31 2018, @05:21AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 31 2018, @05:21AM (#660732)

    On my planet, it's not free! No way am I paying Elon for internet access!

    I can't wait to hack this shit.

    • (Score: 1) by Acabatag on Saturday March 31 2018, @03:24PM (1 child)

      by Acabatag (2885) on Saturday March 31 2018, @03:24PM (#660858)

      If you attack Musk's satellites from an uplink station on a ship, in the open sea, are you truly a space pirate? What jurisdiction is in charge of preventing this?

      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Saturday March 31 2018, @05:07PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 31 2018, @05:07PM (#660883) Journal

        What jurisdiction is in charge of preventing this?

        I'm not a lawyer, but I'd say the law of the country the ship is registered in.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by archfeld on Saturday March 31 2018, @06:43AM (13 children)

    by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Saturday March 31 2018, @06:43AM (#660752) Journal

    How is any satellite system going to do away with high latency ? It is not really a factor for email and general surfing, but gaming or video conferencing on a satellite connection is less than satisfactory. Streaming is okay once the initial buffering is completed but many other services suffer from the built in delay.

    --
    For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Saturday March 31 2018, @07:02AM (2 children)

      by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Saturday March 31 2018, @07:02AM (#660754) Homepage Journal

      Cryptocurrency mining doesn't need a fat pipe, it needs a short pipe: my LiteCoin rig is doing just fine with Comcast's cheapest cable service.

      --
      Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 31 2018, @01:36PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 31 2018, @01:36PM (#660830)

        Thank you for your input, Mister White Privilege. Thank you for pointing out that only the First World Entitled have the wealth to produce more wealth.

        Fuck you, Crawford.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by takyon on Saturday March 31 2018, @07:04AM (3 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Saturday March 31 2018, @07:04AM (#660756) Journal

      Geostationary sats [wikipedia.org] orbit at 35,786 km. The Starlink [wikipedia.org] fleet would orbit at 340 km and 1100-1200 km.

      While internet via a geostationary satellite has a latency of no less than 240 ms, the lower latency limit for Starlink orbiting at 1100 km is only 3% of that, about 7 ms.

      Now we're talking. Even less latency for the 340 km satellites.

      Funnily enough, SpaceX just launched 10 new satellites for Iridium yesterday. They have 50 total and those orbit at 670 km. Iridium has flown on Falcon 9 rockets. If SpaceX flies their own sats on cheaper, fully reusable BFRs (and no markup since they will own them) that can lift bigger payloads, Iridium will have paid many times more than what SpaceX will need to in order to establish its own sat network.

      Many may just be reading about Starlink for the first time, but SpaceX projects that it will be the dominant revenue source for the company in 10 years.

      With this recent development over here [soylentnews.org], there is a potential to put satellites in even lower orbits.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Saturday March 31 2018, @07:17AM (1 child)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 31 2018, @07:17AM (#660760) Journal
        Iridium has a number of years to respond to this. And they might just provide a nice stepping stone to some other business which is entering the market.
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Saturday March 31 2018, @09:37PM

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Saturday March 31 2018, @09:37PM (#660952) Journal

          Actually I went through the Starlink wikipedia article and it says:

          The system will not compete with Iridium satellite constellation, which is designed to link directly to handsets. Instead, it will be linked to flat user terminals the size of a pizza box, which will have phased array antennas and track the satellites. The terminals can be mounted anywhere, as long as they can see the sky.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Spamalope on Saturday March 31 2018, @10:26AM

        by Spamalope (5233) on Saturday March 31 2018, @10:26AM (#660801) Homepage

        Also interesting: Iridium launches paying for the development of reusable launch vehicles SpaceX uses to undercut them on price.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday April 01 2018, @08:17AM (2 children)

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday April 01 2018, @08:17AM (#661077) Homepage
      I don't understand why you're callig this stupid idea a "broad pipe"? You do realise that you'll be sharing that uplink with over half a million other people? If it's using GHz frequencies, that means its bandwitch will never exceed MBps, and divided by that half million, that means you'll only ever get a few byts per second.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: 2) by archfeld on Sunday April 01 2018, @09:58PM

        by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Sunday April 01 2018, @09:58PM (#661252) Journal

        We only have one cable option, Spectrum and they top out at 23 and despite all their advertising they are not going to upgrade the infrastructure here in Yuma. I can get a Century link connection but that is barely 15 mbps here. In California I grew used to my 50-60 mbps connection through Astound(Wave). Hughes net is available here but horribly expensive. When I have to conference call for work or get busy I have to boot everyone off Netflix and Amazon to maintain the barest semblance of decent video and multiple workstation connections, and in the evening times even that won't cut it, leaving me working at midnight or driving to Phoenix which can be a 3 hour trip on a bad day. I'd love to have a Gbps connection but that isn't likely to happen anytime soon.

        --
        For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Monday April 02 2018, @02:19PM

        by Freeman (732) on Monday April 02 2018, @02:19PM (#661465) Journal

        I'm guessing this won't replace landline data services. At least not in the near future. What this would be great for is everywhere in the country that AT&T, etc don't care to build the last mile. There are plenty of places where Fiber is one street over, but AT&T or other company deems it not worth running the line to you. Then you have the people in the sticks who can't get anything better than dial-up / possibly Satellite.

        --
        Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Monday April 02 2018, @02:12PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday April 02 2018, @02:12PM (#661462) Journal

      Please note, these are LEO (Low Earth Orbit) Satellites that are being proposed / launched. They will be approximately 700 miles up instead of approximately 22,000 miles up.

      Ars Link with info: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/02/spacexs-satellite-broadband-nears-fcc-approval-and-first-test-launch/ [arstechnica.com]
      "Gigabit speeds, low latency

      SpaceX has said it will offer speeds of up to a gigabit per second, with latencies between 25ms and 35ms. Those latencies would make SpaceX's service comparable to cable and fiber. Today's satellite broadband services use satellites in much higher orbits and thus have latencies of 600ms or more, according to FCC measurements.

      The demonstration satellites will orbit at 511km, although the operational satellites are planned to orbit at altitudes ranging from 1,110km to 1,325km. By contrast, the existing HughesNet satellite network has an altitude of about 35,400km, making for a much longer round-trip time than ground-based networks.

      We asked SpaceX for an update on its satellite broadband plans today, but the company declined to comment.

      OneWeb was the first company to seek FCC approval to enter the US broadband market with low-Earth orbit satellites and received approval in June 2017. OneWeb wants to offer service in Alaska as early as 2019. Boeing is also planning to offer satellite broadband."

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02 2018, @07:15PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02 2018, @07:15PM (#661631)

      uh, by hovering right over your house. did you read the summary?

      • (Score: 2) by archfeld on Monday April 02 2018, @07:26PM

        by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Monday April 02 2018, @07:26PM (#661635) Journal

        I live right next to a Military exclusion zone, a bombing range and within the border zone with Mexico. I've gotten used to the balloon platform hovering within site, what's one more observer ?

        --
        For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Saturday March 31 2018, @01:17PM (4 children)

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 31 2018, @01:17PM (#660825) Journal

    So they got FCC permission. But those satellites orbit the earth and necessarily will cross other countries, possibly disturbing signals there if sending. Does that mean they need permission from all the other countries, too? Or will they switch off communication as soon as a satellite leaves the US borders, until it enters the US again?

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by FatPhil on Sunday April 01 2018, @08:18AM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday April 01 2018, @08:18AM (#661079) Homepage
      What do you mean by "other countries"?!?!?!?!?
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday April 02 2018, @02:51PM (2 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Monday April 02 2018, @02:51PM (#661495) Journal

      This isn't much different than existing Satellite Internet. Sure they're "Lots closer", but 700+ miles up is still a really, really long way. Typical commercial aircraft don't go above 30-35k feet (less than 7 miles up). Even most military aircraft don't go much higher. In comparison the SR-71 Blackbird maxed out at around 85k feet. Space is a measly 50-60 miles up, it's the gravity well that extends really, really far. Awesome XKCD https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/File:gravity_wells.png [explainxkcd.com]

      Looking up info for this answer really put the earth into perspective for me. The atmosphere that's keeping us all alive isn't "very high".

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Monday April 02 2018, @06:52PM (1 child)

        by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 02 2018, @06:52PM (#661620) Journal

        The relevant point is not the height as such. As long as it is not in the geostationary orbit, it will move over other countries, and as long as it sends strong enough to allow internet connections from earth, it has the ability to disturb other signals there (this includes in particular signals from other, geostationary satellites).

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday April 02 2018, @07:51PM

          by Freeman (732) on Monday April 02 2018, @07:51PM (#661645) Journal

          Again, something that hasn't caused a problem with existing Satellite Internet Providers. Either, this is something they work around, they also provide service in those areas, or isn't a problem. It's entirely possible that existing Satellite Providers workaround this issue simply by stopping transmission when the satellite is out of range of the area they provide service. It just seems like you're trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

          --
          Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
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