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posted by Fnord666 on Monday May 13 2019, @08:38PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the stainless-steel-spaceship dept.

takyon, realDonaldTrump and James Orme bring us news of all things SpaceX:

SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites at Once, and More

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk reveals radical Starlink redesign for 60-satellite launch

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has published the first official photo of the company's near-final Starlink design and confirmed that Falcon 9 will launch a staggering 60 satellites on May 15th.

Known internally as Starlink v0.9, this mission will not be the first launch of operational satellites, but it will be the first internal SpaceX mission with a dedicated Falcon 9 launch. Additionally, the payload will be the heaviest yet launched by SpaceX, signifying an extraordinarily ambitious first step towards realizing the company's ~12,000-satellite Starlink megaconstellation.

Put simply, SpaceX's Starlink v0.9 launch is extremely unique for several reasons. Aside from the unprecedented step of launching 60 spacecraft weighing ~13,000 kg (~30,000 lb) on a developmental mission, both the form factor of each satellite and the style of dispenser/payload adapter has never been seen before. SpaceX appears to have settled on a square dispenser with four separate quadrants for satellites. The satellites themselves look truly bizarre – it's actually difficult to discern where one spacecraft stops and the next begins. Nevertheless, it appears that each Starlink satellite is a relatively thin rectangle, possibly with a squared top and bottom. It's also possible that they are all around rectangular and that the dispenser instead has two main sections.

Elon Musk & Jeff Bezos Can Save American Households $30+ Billion with LEO Satellites

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are still in their nascency, but analysis of BroadbandNow US market pricing data suggests that the technology could save American households more than $30 billion per year by intensifying broadband competition.

LEO satellites, such as the constellations planned by Elon Musk's SpaceX Starlink project and Jeff Bezos' Project Kuiper, promise to bring low-latency broadband internet to millions of Americans. LEO satellite orbit extremely close to earth, between 99 to 1200 miles versus 22,000 miles of traditional GEO satellites, which means less time to transfer information (lower latency) and a quality of service comparable to wired broadband cable and fiber providers. The arrays will be precisely mapped into massive constellations to maximize coverage.

SpaceX stacks orbital Starship sections as Elon Musk teases June 20th event

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says he will provide a public update on the development status of Starship and Super Heavy in an official presentation later this summer, possibly as soon as June 20th.

Meanwhile, SpaceX's South Texas team have been busy at work on both Starhopper and a newer Starship, said by Musk to be the first orbit-capable prototype. In the last week, technicians have begun stacking several sections of the vehicle's stainless steel hull, all fabricated and welded together side-by-side. On Thursday, May 9th, this progressed to the installation of the Starship's first gently tapered nose section atop its cylindrical tank section. Likely the second- or third-to-last major stack before its aeroshell is assembled into one piece, the orbital prototype is starting to truly resemble a real Starship.

New satellites could save Americans $30B on monthly Internet bills, report says

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites from Elon Musk's SpaceX Starlink project and Jeff Bezos' Project Kuiper could save American households more than $30 billion per year by introducing more broadband competition, according to a report from BroadbandNow.

"The arrival of this emergent technology is likely to drive down monthly internet prices for hundreds of millions of Americans," the report said. In short, the more broadband Internet services available in an area, the lower the price consumers will pay on average.

Elon Musk shows sneak peak of SpaceX's internet satellites

SpaceX satellites designed to beam internet coverage from space to under-served areas of the world have been revealed by Elon Musk ahead of their anticipated launch later this week.

The entrepreneur showed off 60 "flat-packed" satellites loaded on a Falcon 9 rocket, which could be sent into low orbit on Wednesday – but warned that its latest attempt could easily fail.

"Much will likely go wrong on first mission," Mr Musk wrote on Twitter, adding that it would take six more similar launches to reach "minor" broadband coverage and 12 for "moderate" service.


Original Submission#1Original Submission #2Original Submission #3

Related Stories

SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites: Postponed 1 Day Due to Upper Altitude Winds [UPDATE 2] 16 comments

[UPDATE #1 20190516_015859 UTC to reflect change in scheduled window start being delayed 30 minutes. --martyb]

[UPDATE #2 20190516_025012 UTC Launch scrubbed for today; will try again during backup 90-minute window which starts 2230 EDT May 16 (0230 UTC May 17). Just as the broadcast went live, they learned the upper altitude winds were outside of allowable bounds and they decided to postpone the launch until the backup window. --martyb]

Yesterday (May 13th), we posted a story SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites at Once, and More. Here are a few more details about Starlink and — more importantly — the launch schedule and a link to the YouTube page to follow along.

SpaceX plans to launch 60 satellites tonight for its next round of development and test towards its goal of deploying Starlink:

SpaceX has plans to deploy nearly 12,000 satellites in three orbital shells by the mid-2020s: initially placing approximately 1600 in a 550-kilometer (340 mi)-altitude shell, subsequently placing ~2800 Ku- and Ka-band spectrum sats at 1,150 km (710 mi) and ~7500 V-band sats at 340 km (210 mi). The total cost of the decade-long project to design, build and deploy such a network is estimated at nearly US$10 billion.

Three of SpaceX's Starlink Satellites have Failed 27 comments

SpaceX's Starlink program launched an initial sixty satellites on May 23. At least three of these "are no longer in service" and "will passively deorbit." according to a spokesperson for the company.

In other words, the three spacecraft failed and will fall back to Earth, likely within a year because of their relatively low orbit of 273 miles (440 kilometers) above the planet's surface.

SpaceX seems relatively unfazed by the failures, though, since the company never expected all of them to function perfectly given the mission's experimental nature.

SpaceX intentionally implemented the satellites with minor variations.

On a brighter note, 45 of the satellites, which are equipped with small ion engines for maneuvering, have already reached their intended orbits. Five are moving towards their orbits, and five are pending evaluation before maneuvering. Another "[t]wo satellites are being intentionally deorbited to simulate an end of life disposal."

[N]ow that the majority of the satellites have reached their operational altitude, SpaceX will begin using the constellation to start transmitting broadband signals, testing the latency and capacity by streaming videos and playing some high bandwidth video games using gateways throughout North America.

The Starlink program was stung by early comments that the program was negatively affecting astronomy and SpaceX

added that it "continues to monitor the visibility of the satellites as they approach their final orbit" and that they will be measured for their visibility from the ground once there. Those comments are likely meant to address concerns lodged by astronomers about the reflectivity of Starlink spacecraft

The satellites are designed to completely disintegrate upon entering Earth's atmosphere, and the failures may help drive future iterations.

Previous Coverage
Most of SpaceX's Starlink Internet Satellites are Already on Track
SpaceX Satellites Pose New Headache for Astronomers
Third Time's the Charm! SpaceX Launch Good; Starlink Satellite Deployment Coming Up [Updated]
SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites: Postponed 1 Day Due to Upper Altitude Winds [UPDATE 2]
SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites at Once, and More
SpaceX's First Dedicated Starlink Launch Set for May; Amazon Hired SpaceX Execs for Project Kuiper

Original Submission

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.


More coverage:

Original Submission

Third Time's the Charm! SpaceX Launch Good; Starlink Satellite Deployment Coming Up [Updated] 17 comments

[Update (20190524_025416 UTC): Launch successful so far, booster landing successful, second stage is now in coast phase, satellite deployment coming up in about 40 minutes. Correction on YouTube link:]

On May 20th, SpaceX tweeted: "Now targeting May 23 for launch of Starlink from Pad 40 in Florida".

According to Spaceflightnow:

May 23/24 Falcon 9 • Starlink 1
Launch time: 0230-0400 GMT on 24th (10:30 p.m.-12:00 a.m. EDT on 23rd/24th)

Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network. Scrubbed on May 15 and May 16.

The launch will be Live-Streamed on YouTube:

Scheduled for May 23, 2019

SpaceX is targeting Thursday, May 23 for the launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. SpaceX's Starlink is a next-generation satellite network capable of connecting the globe, especially reaching those who are not yet connected, with reliable and affordable broadband internet services.

The launch window opens at 10:30 p.m. EDT on May 23, or 2:30 UTC on May 24, and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 24, or 4:00 UTC. A backup launch window opens on Friday, May 24 at 10:30 p.m. EDT, or 2:30 UTC on May 25, and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 25, or 4:00 UTC. Falcon 9's first stage for this mission previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018 and the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9's first stage on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately one hour and two minutes after liftoff, the Starlink satellites will begin deployment at an altitude of 440km. They will then use onboard propulsion to reach an operational altitude of 550km.

Previous coverage:
SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites at Once, and More,
SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites: Postponed 1 Day Due to Upper Altitude Winds
SpaceX *was* going to Try Starlink Launch Again Today; Mission Scrubbed.

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by opinionated_science on Monday May 13 2019, @09:04PM (5 children)

    by opinionated_science (4031) on Monday May 13 2019, @09:04PM (#843153)

    which part of the world will this cover?

    Or are the putting up equidistant orbits?

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Snow on Monday May 13 2019, @09:39PM

      by Snow (1601) on Monday May 13 2019, @09:39PM (#843176) Journal

      Entire world... except perhaps the extreme poles, but I suspect even they will have coverage.

      Because these Satellites are in LEO, they will always be moving relative to the ground. There is no way to offer a localized service using that orbit (unless you selectively disable the radios).

    • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Tuesday May 14 2019, @12:08AM (3 children)

      by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 14 2019, @12:08AM (#843204) Homepage Journal

      I would assume USA is the first target. If they launch from Cape Canaveral, the easiest inclination would be 28 degrees, but I suspect they will want to cover SoCal (headquarters) which would be ~35 degrees.

      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday May 14 2019, @12:42AM (2 children)

        by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday May 14 2019, @12:42AM (#843215)

        I read they're going at least to +/-52 degrees, but I think some Ars commenter mentioned over 60 degrees.

        • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Tuesday May 14 2019, @02:05AM (1 child)

          by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 14 2019, @02:05AM (#843232) Homepage Journal

          52 is the inclination of the ISS thanks to launching from the Baikonur Cosmodome and Russia needing the extra inclination to avoid flying over Chinese territory during launch. While SpaceX needs to use their own launch vehicles to drive down prices, having a potential second supplier might factor into the decision making.

            It also covers a lot of the world's population, with 52 covering London and 60 covering Stockholm. My comment was thinking about the easiest initial launch for testing, but it may make more sense to mimic the final configuration as best as possible with this first launch.

          • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday May 14 2019, @05:28PM

            by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday May 14 2019, @05:28PM (#843495)

            I'd guess that every single satellite will be at the same inclination so they can all be at the same altitude.

            "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by krishnoid on Monday May 13 2019, @09:19PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Monday May 13 2019, @09:19PM (#843165)

    This way everybody in the whole country can download the Mueller report and read the facts for themselves! That should make realDonaldTrump happy. Good for him to support access to a variety of better information sources rather than being forced to get their fake news from the liberal media.

  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday May 13 2019, @09:22PM (3 children)

    by Freeman (732) on Monday May 13 2019, @09:22PM (#843168) Journal

    Here's hoping that this new fancy, low ping Satellite Internet, will be a viable alternative to Fixed-Point Wireless. Fixed-Point Wireless is the only "high speed" internet I can reasonably afford that services me. Hopefully, the new LEO Satellite Internet will be able to provide good ping, bandwidth/throughput, cap (One could dream that there wouldn't be one.), and price.

    Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
    • (Score: 2) by Barenflimski on Monday May 13 2019, @10:25PM (2 children)

      by Barenflimski (6836) on Monday May 13 2019, @10:25PM (#843183)

      What is the latency of these things? Some very quick math confirms this orbit is farther than the local CO is to my house, but closer than Amazon's data center. What would standard "ping times" be for folks?

      I suppose when we put server farms in space to help with cooling and we can run stuff at temps near absolute zero, that's when the server farms will be closer to my house than Amazon's data center.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Muad'Dave on Tuesday May 14 2019, @11:41AM

        by Muad'Dave (1413) on Tuesday May 14 2019, @11:41AM (#843356)

        Did you include the velocity factor of coax/fiber? EM waves travel at approximately 0.66-0.8c in those media [].

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by Freeman on Tuesday May 14 2019, @02:46PM

        by Freeman (732) on Tuesday May 14 2019, @02:46PM (#843424) Journal

        One press release said that the new lower orbit that was recently approved would allow for pings as low as 15ms. A quick calculation of perfect speed of light with the distance, would get the signal to the satellite one way at about 1.5ms, so 3ms to get to the end point and another 3 back, would be about 6ms ping, if everything was perfect. So, add in a bit of latency due to atmosphere, and real world performance. 15ms sounds theoretically possible and 30 - 50ms real world performance seems reasonable. At those ping rates, you can do pretty much anything. Assuming, the connection is stable and the data cap isn't low.

        Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by realDonaldTrump on Tuesday May 14 2019, @12:00AM

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Tuesday May 14 2019, @12:00AM (#843203) Homepage Journal

    Very positive story about how more and more people are getting onto our magnificent American Internet, for less money. Because we canceled Net Neutrality and many other burdensome regulations.

    But, so interesting. They did the Continued with this one. And, you know how the web sights can be in the square brackets? How there's a Link and the sight comes after it. Well, the Links after the Continued, unfortunately don't have that. Before the Continued -- PERFECTO. After it, little problem. Be best!!!!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14 2019, @10:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14 2019, @10:09PM (#843622)

    i for one welcome our new skynet overlords! soo sick of lame ass speeds at outrageous prices. i will dance and piss on the grave of my isp. death to the great satan!