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posted by chromas on Wednesday May 15 2019, @07:20PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

[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.

According to Spaceflight Now:

The Federal Communications Commission has granted a request by SpaceX to begin launching spacecraft for the company’s Starlink broadband network to a lower orbit than originally planned, overruling protests by competitors and clearing a major regulatory hurdle before the launch of the first batch of Internet satellites from Cape Canaveral in May.

The regulatory commission approved SpaceX’s proposal Friday to fly more than 1,500 of its Starlink satellites at an altitude of 341 miles, or 550 kilometers, instead of the 714-mile-high (1,150-kilometer) orbit originally planned.

These would be in what is called low Earth orbit (LEO), which ultimately promises to rival terrestrial gigabit fiber connections. Current satellite internet connections communicate with satellites that are in geostationary orbit (GEO), where they stay over a fixed point on Earth. To do so, they orbit at an altitude of approximately 22,236 miles (35,786 km) above the equator. Even at the speed of light, that imposes a minimum round-trip delay of 250ms. To access satellites in LEO, a user's ground station would employ a steerable phased array antenna about the size of a pizza box. The antenna would dynamically steer its connection to one of the satellites passing overhead, much like how a GPS receiver gets its signal from the selection of currently-overhead satellites. (You cannot directly link your mobile phone to one of the satellites.) But, it does promise much better connectivity for those in rural areas who are currently underserved by terrestrial ISPs who at best offer DSL speeds, if any at all. Ships out in the middle of the ocean would also greatly benefit from this availability.

From SpaceX's live stream page on YouTube with text retrieved 20190515 @ 1200 UTC:

Since the original launch proved unaceptable due to upper altitude winds being outside allowable bounds, SpaceX announced they will try again during the backup launch window.

SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, May 15 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.

Liftoff is targeted for 11:00 p.m. EDT on May 15, or 3:00 UTC on May 16, with the launch window closing at 12:00 a.m. on May 16, or 4:00 UTC. A backup launch window opens on Thursday, May 16 at 10:30 p.m. EDT, or 2:30 UTC on May 17, and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 17, 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.

Historically, the stream goes live about 20-30 minutes before the scheduled launch.


Original Submission

Related Stories

SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites at Once, and More 13 comments

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.

SpaceX *was* going to Try Starlink Launch Again Today; Mission Scrubbed 6 comments

[Updated 20190517_020607 UTC. According to SpaceX's twitter feed:

Standing down to update satellite software and triple-check everything again. Always want to do everything we can on the ground to maximize mission success, next launch opportunity in about a week.

Original story follows.

-- Ed.]

From the live stream on YouTube:

SpaceX is targeting Thursday, May 16 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, or 2:30 UTC on May 17, and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 17, 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.

The live stream historically "goes live" approximately 15 minutes before launch which should be 1 hour from the time this story goes live.

Yesterday's launch attempt was cancelled due to unacceptable high-altitude winds. Courtesy of the National Weather Service, here is the current forecast and the hourly forecast for Cape Canaveral.


Original Submission

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

Most of SpaceX's Starlink Internet Satellites are Already on Track 11 comments

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow4463

Most of SpaceX's Starlink internet satellites are already on track

The first batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites has been orbiting Earth for about a week, and now SpaceX has released a status update on the mission. According to a spokesperson, "all 60 satellites have deployed their solar arrays successfully, generated positive power and communicated with our ground stations."

The statement didn't directly mention concerns by astronomers about their brightness and visibility, but Elon Musk already has, and they aren't expected to reach their full altitude for three to four weeks. According to SpaceX, "observability of the Starlink satellites is dramatically reduced as they raise orbit to greater distance and orient themselves with the phased array antennas toward Earth and their solar arrays behind the body of the satellite."

Parabolic Arc notes that during a speech at MIT this week, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell mentioned four of the units had unspecified problems, while today's update said "most" are using their Hall thrusters to reach operational altitude and have already made contact with their broadband antennas, but all of them have maneuvering capability to avoid each other and other objects.

Previously: SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites


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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riBaVeDTEWI.]

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: 5, Informative) by takyon on Wednesday May 15 2019, @07:47PM (4 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday May 15 2019, @07:47PM (#843948) Journal

    SpaceX reveals new Starlink satellite details 24 hours from launch [teslarati.com]

    227kg per satellite, but the satellites don't have the inter-satellite laser communication that a future version will have. Article says that could add 10% more mass.

    Minor service could begin after a few launches. Depending on how successful this launch is, that could mean as early as this year.

    Speculation: The signal could be better in rainy/cloudy weather due to the sats being much closer than geostationary sats.

    SpaceX static fires Falcon 9 with satellites on board for the first time in years [teslarati.com]

    SpaceX has successfully completed a Falcon 9 static fire ahead of Starlink’s first dedicated launch, breaking a practice that dates back to Falcon 9’s last catastrophic failure to date.

    That failure occurred in September 2016 around nine minutes before a planned Falcon 9 static fire test, completely destroying the rocket and the Amos-6 communications satellite payload and severely damaging Launch Complex 40 (LC-40). Since that fateful failure, all 42 subsequent Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy satellite launches have been preceded by static fire tests without a payload fairing attached. This process typically adds 24-48 hours of work to launch operations, an admittedly tiny price to pay to reduce the chances of a rocket failure completely destroying valuable payloads. With Starlink v0.9, SpaceX is making different choices.

    Maybe customers opt for the safer approach, but SpaceX is willing to risk blowing these incomplete satellites up.

    DeepSpace: All eyes on SpaceX’s Starlink ahead of launch [teslarati.com]

    Apparently there is still a little bit more room in the fairing, so maybe more than 60 satellites could be launched at once. Maybe we'll see SpaceX start to use Falcon Heavy launches instead of Falcon 9. Depends on the additional cost of a Falcon Heavy launch (assuming all boosters successfully recovered and not tipping over at sea) and the additional amount of satellites that can be packed into that fairing.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15 2019, @08:14PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15 2019, @08:14PM (#843957)

    and God speed! may the one true monopoly ISP be born without complications!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15 2019, @08:38PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15 2019, @08:38PM (#843966)

      And the stench of MuskNet permeates the room.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Wednesday May 15 2019, @09:08PM

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday May 15 2019, @09:08PM (#843971) Journal

        If you'd prefer to be touched by Cheating Bezos, you can sign up with Amazon/Blue Origin's Project Kuiper. And then there's OneWeb and others. These will be competing directly with cable, DSL, fiber, etc. since latency will be similar.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by SpockLogic on Wednesday May 15 2019, @10:40PM

      by SpockLogic (2762) on Wednesday May 15 2019, @10:40PM (#843998)

      I might sit in my front porch and watch the rocket go up. Makes a change from Disney's fireworks.

      --
      Overreacting is one thing, sticking your head up your ass hoping the problem goes away is another - edIII
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by takyon on Wednesday May 15 2019, @09:05PM (4 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday May 15 2019, @09:05PM (#843970) Journal

    They want each satellite to do 20 Gbps. If it's the same for 12k satellites at 3 different orbits, that's 240 Tbps total.

    https://bgr.com/2018/07/10/average-internet-speeds-us-vs-the-world/ [bgr.com]

    Average U.S. internet speed is 26 Mbps. The Starlink target could be 1000 Mbps (I'd expect lower speed plans to be more popular). There must be a lower number than 26 Mbps that describes the average utilization (which is going to vary based on time zone and time of day). That number should allow you to estimate how many millions of people Starlink can support (4.8 million could use 50 Mbps, 48 million could use 5 Mbps).

    Future versions of the satellites could increase total bandwidth, but it's unclear that people will want greater than 1 Gbps plans. Unless we start talking about multiple 16K video streams per household.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15 2019, @11:32PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15 2019, @11:32PM (#844020)

      It's actually half that, since each connection requires two links (up and down). And that's assuming all satellites are ground-relay only. If the system is supposed to bounce a connection over multiple satellites before beaming down, then each hop consumes more of the total bandwidth without adding to the system throughput.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday May 16 2019, @01:35AM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday May 16 2019, @01:35AM (#844063) Journal

        Good point.

        I just want to get the constants figured out so we can plug in some numbers and see that X sats = Y users that can be supported.

        Actually, a lot of Starlink details are still unknown. Will SpaceX's Starlink subsidiary make itself a giant telco, or will they use middlemen to market and expand the service to more people in a shorter amount of time? It could be difficult for them to reach millions of customers. How many customers (excluding finance, government, and military) would they need to hit that $30 billion in annual revenue they predicted?

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16 2019, @08:08PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16 2019, @08:08PM (#844441)

          all they have to do is put up a website and people will flood in. people hate their ISPs with a passion like white fire.

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday May 16 2019, @03:08PM

      by Freeman (732) on Thursday May 16 2019, @03:08PM (#844292) Journal

      Assuming, the connection is stable, low ping, and had no cap or at worst a 300GB cap, I could be quite happy with 25Mbps. I think I'm getting worse speed than that with my 4G LTE hot spot. I'm also getting a variable ping from 35ms to 100ms (sometimes a higher spike and sometimes disconnected) with my 4G LTE hot spot, and have a really, really low cap.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday May 16 2019, @02:50AM

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday May 16 2019, @02:50AM (#844094) Journal

    No launch tonight, check back tomorrow.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16 2019, @08:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16 2019, @08:36PM (#844454)

    take your time. please don't "Challenger" my future ISP sats.

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