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posted by janrinok on Sunday June 02 2019, @06:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the loud-and-clear'ish dept.

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

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

SpaceX to Become World's Largest Satellite Operator; Launch, Booster Landing Successful [UPDATED] 18 comments

[UPDATE (20200107_023514 UTC): Launch went off smoothly and on time. Booster landed safely on the drone ship. Second stage is in proper orbit and currently in coast phase leading up to satellite deployment.]

With Monday night launch, SpaceX to become world's largest satellite operator:

In 2019 SpaceX launched two batches of 60 Starlink satellites—one experimental, and the second operational. On Monday, the company plans to add 60 more satellites with a nighttime launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

If all goes to plan, this mission will be just the first of as many as 20 Starlink launches this year as SpaceX builds up a constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit to provide global Internet service. SpaceX may begin to offer "bumpy" service by the middle of this year to some consumers.

Following this next launch, scheduled for 9:19pm ET Monday (02:19 UTC Tuesday), SpaceX will have a constellation of nearly 180 satellites in low-Earth orbit, each weighing a little more than 220kg. This will make the company simultaneously the world's largest private satellite operator (eclipsing Planet Labs), while also being the most active private launch company.

[...] Monday night's launch attempt will occur on a Falcon 9 first stage that has flown three times previously, in September 2018 (Telstar 18 VANTAGE), January 2019 (Iridium-8), and May 2019 (the first experimental Starlink mission). After launching, the first stage will land on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Another vessel, "Ms. Tree," will attempt to recover a payload fairing half. The Starlink satellites themselves will deploy at 61 minutes into the mission, at an altitude of 290km.

A webcast of the mission should begin about 15 minutes prior to launch.

Link to the YouTube webcast.


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by opinionated_science on Sunday June 02 2019, @07:19PM (9 children)

    by opinionated_science (4031) on Sunday June 02 2019, @07:19PM (#850634)

    with out doubt - even if you don't like Tesla as a car, Tesla as an ISP is next up ;-)

    Truly an amazing time to be alive..

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02 2019, @07:43PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02 2019, @07:43PM (#850644)

      Just like an ant must feel as the sun moves into position above the magnifying glass.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday June 02 2019, @09:02PM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Sunday June 02 2019, @09:02PM (#850662) Journal

        Moving to Canada is old hat. Leaving Earth is the new hotness.

        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
        • (Score: 2) by legont on Sunday June 02 2019, @09:26PM

          by legont (4179) on Sunday June 02 2019, @09:26PM (#850666)

          Hope you mean sending rich into space.

          "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02 2019, @08:09PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02 2019, @08:09PM (#850648)

      SpaceX hired engineers who were allowed to use calculators on their maths exam.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday June 02 2019, @08:59PM (3 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Sunday June 02 2019, @08:59PM (#850660) Journal []

      In February 2019, a sister company of SpaceX, SpaceX Services, Inc., filed a request with the US Federal Communications Commission to request a license for the operation of up to 1,000,000 fixed satellite earth stations that will communicate with its non-geostationary orbit satellite (NGSO) Starlink system.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02 2019, @09:59PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02 2019, @09:59PM (#850668)

        .. proving he really should buy that hollowed out volcano.

        • (Score: 1) by RandomFactor on Sunday June 02 2019, @11:06PM (1 child)

          by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 02 2019, @11:06PM (#850684) Journal

          This would be a truly epic troll. (Surpassed only by building a launch pad in it.)

          В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bob_super on Tuesday June 04 2019, @11:46PM

            by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday June 04 2019, @11:46PM (#851490)

            Even if you can hoverslam the rocket onto the pad, and fold the legs and refuel it without going horizontal, taking off inside any structure is not friendly to any rockets, even the smaller ICBMs.

            On the other hand, when you already have drone ships going around, upgrading to a supertanker, or a submarine base...

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02 2019, @11:18PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02 2019, @11:18PM (#850688)

    The word should be "manoeuvering" (US) or "manoeuvring" (GB).