Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 29 2019, @02:40AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the AKA-BFS dept.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell has revealed that Starship can carry 400 Starlinks satellites into orbit, up from the 60 recently launched using a Falcon 9 rocket. The cost per launch may be negligible:

Beyond Shotwell's clear confidence that Starlink's satellite technology is far beyond OneWeb and years ahead of Amazon's Project Kuiper clone, she also touched on yet another strength: SpaceX's very own vertically-integrated launch systems. OneWeb plans to launch the vast majority of its Phase 1 constellation on Arianespace's commercial Soyuz rockets, with the launch contract alone expected to cost more than $1B for ~700 satellites.

SpaceX, on the other hand, owns, builds, and operates its own rocket factory and high-performance orbital launch vehicles and is the only company on Earth to have successfully fielded reusable rockets. In short, although Starlink's voracious need for launch capacity will undoubtedly require some major direct investments, a large portion of SpaceX's Starlink launch costs can be perceived as little more than the cost of propellant, work-hours, and recovery fleet operations. Boosters (and hopefully fairings) can be reused ad nauseum and so long as SpaceX sticks to its promise to put customer missions first, the practical opportunity cost of each Starlink launch should be close to zero.

[...] Shotwell revealed that a single Starship-Super Heavy launch should be able to place at least 400 Starlink satellites in orbit – a combined payload mass of ~120 metric tons (265,000 lb). Even if the cost of a Starship launch remained identical to Starlink v0.9's flight-proven Falcon 9, packing almost seven times as many Starlink satellites would singlehandedly cut the relative cost of launch per satellite by more than the 5X figure Musk noted.

In light of this new figure of 400 satellites per individual Starship launch, it's far easier to understand why SpaceX took the otherwise ludicrous step of reserving space for tens of thousands more Starlink satellites. Even if SpaceX arrives at a worst-case-scenario and is only able to launch Starship-Super Heavy once every 4-8 weeks for the first several years, that could translate to 2400-4800 Starlink satellites placed in orbit every year. Given that 120 tons to LEO is well within Starship's theoretical capabilities without orbital refueling, it's entirely possible that Starship could surpass Falcon 9's Starlink mass-to-orbit almost immediately after it completes its first orbital launch and recovery: a single Starship launch would be equivalent to almost 7 Falcon 9 missions.

The Starlink constellation can begin commercial operations with just 360-400 satellites, or 1,200 for global coverage. SpaceX has demonstrated a 610 Mbps connection to an in-flight U.S. military C-12 aircraft. SpaceX is planning to launch 60 additional Starlink satellites in November, marking the first reuse of a thrice-flown Falcon 9 booster.

Also at CNBC.

Previously: Third Time's the Charm! SpaceX Launch Good; Starlink Satellite Deployment Coming Up [Updated]
SpaceX Provides Update on Starship with Assembled Prototype as the Backdrop
SpaceX Requests Permission to Launch an Additional 30,000 Starlink Satellites, to a Total of 42,000+
Elon Musk Sends Tweet Via SpaceX's Starlink Satellite Broadband
SpaceX: Land Starship on Moon Before 2022, Then Do Cargo Runs for 2024 Human Landing


Original Submission

Related Stories

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

SpaceX Provides Update on Starship with Assembled Prototype as the Backdrop 16 comments

SpaceX's "completed" Starship Mark 1 (Mk1) prototype was unveiled during an update presentation in Boca Chica, Texas on Saturday. The craft has two less-prominent aft fins instead of the three larger fins (acting as landing legs) seen in previous renderings, and two small fins on the nosecone. An upcoming 20 kilometer test flight of Mk1 will only use three sea level optimized Raptor engines, while the full version of Starship will use three sea level and three vacuum optimized Raptor engines. The dry mass of Starship will be higher than initially expected: about 100-120 tons instead of 85 tons (Mk1 is 200 tons). Payload to low Earth orbit (LEO) in fully reusable mode will start out near 100 tons but is expected to reach 150 tons.

SpaceX is currently making one new Raptor engine every 8-10 days, but hopes to speed that up to one engine every day in Q1 2020. The process of building Starships will also speed up due to unspooling steel and using single seam welds (giant rings of steel will still be joined together, but without the plates seen in Mk1). A Starship Mk3 could be completed within 3 months, and a Starship Mk3, Mk4, or Mk5 (with the Super Heavy booster) could reach orbit within 6 months from today. It may not be possible to get a Starship to orbit by itself, but even if it could, it would be expendable and not worth it. Therefore, orbital tests will depend on the rate of Raptor engine production. Around 100 engines will need to have been made by the time of the first test. Super Heavy could use as few as 24 engines to complete a mission, but is more likely to use 31, or a maximum of 37 engines. The amount is configurable as needed.

Elon Musk claimed that SpaceX could launch people on a Starship as early as next year, and that in-orbit refueling (called "orbital refilling" during the presentation) of Starship will be easier than docking with the International Space Station. The refueling process is necessary to get the full 100-150 tons of payload to the surface of the Moon, Mars, or other solar system destinations.

Musk estimated that a small fleet of 10-20 Starships could launch about 1,000 to 10,000 times as much mass to orbit in a year than is currently launched with all of the world's rockets annually, including SpaceX's Falcon 9/Heavy.

Also at NASASpaceFlight, Ars Technica, Space.com, and CBS.

See also: r/SpaceX Starship Presentation Official Discussion & Updates Thread
SpaceX debuts Starship's new Super Heavy booster design
SpaceX envisions Starship-enabled cities on the Moon and Mars in new renders
Tesla on Mars addressed by Elon Musk in SpaceX's Starship Q&A session


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.

Starlink.

More coverage:


Original Submission

Elon Musk Sends Tweet Via SpaceX's Starlink Satellite Broadband 11 comments

SpaceX's Starlink division is on track to offer satellite-broadband service in the United States in mid-2020, a company official said today. Meanwhile, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk posted two tweets that show he's testing the broadband service.

"Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite," Musk wrote. Two minutes later, Musk sent a followup tweet that said, "Whoa, it worked!!"
[...]
SpaceX launched 60 satellites in May this year to test the system before preparing for a wider deployment. The company has FCC permission to deploy up to 11,943 satellites and is seeking permission to launch as many as 30,000 more.
[...]
"We need 24 launches to get global coverage," Shotwell said. "Every launch after that gives you more capacity." SpaceX previously said it could make 24 Starlink launches in 2020.
[...]
While SpaceX has said it intends to provide gigabit speeds and latency as low as 25ms, a big unanswered question is how much it will cost. SpaceX is apparently still trying to figure that out.

"Shotwell said millions of people in the US pay $80 per month to get 'crappy service,'" SpaceNews reported. "She didn't say whether Starlink will cost more or less than $80 per month but suggested that would be a segment of the public the company would target as well as rural areas that currently have no connectivity."
[...]
There are some other interesting tidbits in the SpaceNews article. SpaceX wants to offer Starlink both to home Internet users and the US government, and the company is already testing with the US Air Force Research Laboratory. "So far, SpaceX has demonstrated data throughput of 610Mbps per second in flight to the cockpit of a US military C-12 twin-engine turboprop aircraft," the SpaceNews article said.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/10/elon-musk-sends-tweet-via-spacexs-starlink-satellite-broadband/
https://spacenews.com/spacex-plans-to-start-offering-starlink-broadband-services-in-2020/


Original Submission

SpaceX: Land Starship on Moon Before 2022, Then Do Cargo Runs for 2024 Human Landing 15 comments

Submitted via IRC for soylent_brown

SpaceX wants to land Starship on the Moon before 2022, then do cargo runs for 2024 human landing – TechCrunch

Speaking at a quick series of interviews with commercial space company’s at this year’s annual International Astronautical Congress, SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell shed a little more light on her company’s current thinking with regards to the mission timelines for its forthcoming Starship spacefaring vehicle. Starship, currently in parallel development at SpaceX’s South Texas and Florida facilities, is intended to be an all-purpose successor to, and replacement for, both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, with a higher payload capacity and the ability to reach the Moon and eventually Mars.

“Aspirationally, we want to get Starship to orbit within a year,” Shotwell said. “We definitely want to land it on the Moon before 2022. We want to […] stage cargo there to make sure that there are resources for the folks that ultimately land on the moon by 2024, if things go well, so that’s the aspirational timeframe.”

That’s an ambitious timeline, and as Shotwell herself repeatedly stated, these are “aspirational” timelines. In the space industry, as well as in tech, it’s not uncommon for leadership to set aggressive schedules in order to drive the teams working on projects to work at the limits of what’s actually possible. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is also known for working to timelines that often don’t match up with reality, and Shotwell alluded to Musk’s ambitious goal setting as a virtue in another part of her on-stage interview at IAC.

“Elon puts out these incredibly audacious goals and people say ‘You’re not going to do it, you’ll never get to orbit, you’ll never get a real rocket to orbit, […] you’ll never get Heavy to orbit, you’ll never get Dragon to the station, you’ll never get Dragon back, and you’ll never land a rocket,'” she said. “So, frankly, I love when people say we can’t do it, because it motivates my fantastic 6,500 employees to go do that thing.”


Original Submission

Starship Prototype Mk1 Fails During Propellant Tank Loading Test: Onwards to Mk3 21 comments

SpaceX Starship Mk. 1 fails during cryogenic loading test

SpaceX's first full-scale Starship prototype – [Mark 1 (Mk. 1)] – has experienced a major failure at its Boca Chica test site in southern Texas. The failure occurred late in the afternoon on Wednesday, midway through a test of the vehicle's propellant tanks.

The Mk. 1 Starship – which was shown off to the world in September as part of SpaceX's and Elon Musk's presentation of the design changes to the Starship system was to fly the first 20 km test flight of the program in the coming weeks.

The main event of today, the Mk. 1 Starship's first cryogenic loading test, involved filling the methane and oxygen tanks with a cryogenic liquid.

During the test, the top bulkhead of the vehicle ruptured and was ejected away from the site, followed by a large cloud of vapors and cryogenic liquid from the tank.

There will be no attempt to salvage Starship Mk1, with focus instead shifting to Mk3 (in Texas) and Mk2 (in Florida):

Minutes after the anomaly was broadcast on several unofficial livestreams of SpaceX's Boca Chica facilities, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk acknowledged Starship Mk1's failure in a tweet, telegraphing a general lack of worry. Of note, Musk indicated that Mk1 was valuable mainly as a manufacturing pathfinder, entirely believable but also partially contradicting his September 2019 presentation, in which he pretty clearly stated that Mk1 would soon be launched to ~20 km to demonstrate Starship's exotic new skydiver landing strategy.

Musk says that instead of repairing Starship Mk1, SpaceX's Boca Chica team will move directly to Starship Mk3, a significantly more advanced design that has benefitted from the numerous lessons learned from building and flying Starhopper and fabricating Starship Mk1. The first Starship Mk3 ring appears to have already been prepared, but SpaceX's South Texas focus has clearly been almost entirely on preparing Starship Mk1 for wet dress rehearsal, static fire, and flight tests. After today's failure, it sounds like Mk1 will most likely be retired early and replaced as soon as possible by Mk3.

Above all else, the most important takeaway from today's Starship Mk1 anomaly is that the vehicle was a very early prototype and SpaceX likely wants to have vehicle failures occur on the ground or in-flight. As long as no humans are at risk, pushing Starship to failure (or suffering unplanned failures like today's) can only serve to benefit and improve the vehicle's design, especially when the failed hardware can be recovered intact (ish) and carefully analyzed.

Video of the rupture is available on NASASpaceFlight's forums. Start with this forum post and continue down the page for other pictures and videos.

Previously: SpaceX Provides Update on Starship with Assembled Prototype as the Backdrop

Related: The SpaceX Starship Pushback: NASA Administrator's Scolding and More
SpaceX's Starship Can Launch 400 Starlink Satellites at Once
Artemis Program Requires More Cash to Reach Moon by 2024; SLS Could Cost 1,000x More Than Starship


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.

Previously:


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 2) by Coward, Anonymous on Tuesday October 29 2019, @03:00AM (6 children)

    by Coward, Anonymous (7017) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @03:00AM (#913106) Journal

    These satellites are supposed to communicate with one another via free-space laser links. Nobody is doing that currently, but if they can pull it off, it ill be a major advance.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by mhajicek on Tuesday October 29 2019, @05:03AM

      by mhajicek (51) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @05:03AM (#913128)

      I thought they were supposed to use subspace communications.

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29 2019, @05:15AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29 2019, @05:15AM (#913133)

      Next launch is listed as v1.0 satellites, whatever that means.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29 2019, @07:25AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29 2019, @07:25AM (#913173)

      Any suggestions for a site with information on the technical implementation and all that good stuff? Finding this sort of information can be difficult since search engines just tend to return a million useless general media links.

      Curious on a technical review of the strengths/weaknesses/challenges/etc on this sort of system (and exactly how it's going to be designed) as contrasted against your regular ground station - satellite setup.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by aim on Tuesday October 29 2019, @08:30AM (2 children)

      by aim (6322) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @08:30AM (#913188)

      These satellites are supposed to communicate with one another via free-space laser links. Nobody is doing that currently

      I guess ESA is nobody, with EDRS [wikipedia.org].

      • (Score: 2) by esperto123 on Tuesday October 29 2019, @11:36AM (1 child)

        by esperto123 (4303) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @11:36AM (#913227)

        From the wiki the laser link system seems not to be operational yet, and it is not clear it had been tested a satellite to satellite link.
        Do you know more information?

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aim on Tuesday October 29 2019, @12:56PM

          by aim (6322) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @12:56PM (#913247)

          From the very wikipedia page linked:

          Such a terminal was successfully tested during in-orbit verification between the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X and the American NFIRE satellite.

          The reference linked seems stale, but if you search that site for both TerraSAR-X and NFIRE, you'll find the PDF link here [www.dlr.de].

          You're welcome.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by PiMuNu on Tuesday October 29 2019, @08:04AM (9 children)

    by PiMuNu (3823) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @08:04AM (#913178)

    ... the space junk problem clearly becomes an issue for now, not for some distant future. Low Earth Orbital "real estate" is now a limited resource.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by deimtee on Tuesday October 29 2019, @08:44AM (8 children)

      by deimtee (3272) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @08:44AM (#913191) Journal

      pfffft. Assuming they are all within a 20km altitude band, you are still talking about 4 billion cubic kilometres of space.
      If they launched 100,000 of them they would still have 40,000 cubic kilometres of space each.

      "Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. etc. "

      --
      No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
      • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Tuesday October 29 2019, @11:45AM (7 children)

        by PiMuNu (3823) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @11:45AM (#913232)

        I thought that, because all orbits at a given height cross, it's height that matters not volume.

        • (Score: 1) by gmby on Tuesday October 29 2019, @01:36PM (6 children)

          by gmby (83) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @01:36PM (#913259)

          and time of the cross.

          --
          Bye /. and thanks for all the fish.
          • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Tuesday October 29 2019, @01:58PM (5 children)

            by PiMuNu (3823) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @01:58PM (#913266)

            > and time of the cross.

            Naively, I expect small deviations in the orbital period between adjacent (in height) satellites mean that the orbits can cross. I know T^2 ~ R^3 where R is the length of the semi-major axis; but orbits are not circular.

            • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Tuesday October 29 2019, @02:14PM (2 children)

              by deimtee (3272) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @02:14PM (#913269) Journal

              Given how many he's going to put up, it would probably be easiest and most effective to simply ignore the possibility of collisions. They will be a very low probability event and losing a couple of satellites every year or so would be cheaper having that many satellites using fuel to try to maintain current minimum separation standards.
              At the very least I assume his satellites will be allowed much closer to each other, which is why he's trying to get control of an entire altitude band.

              (Any that collide will de-orbit very quickly, as a collision will always lower the kinetic energy, and hence the orbit. Kessler syndrome is not a problem that low down.)

              --
              No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
              • (Score: 4, Interesting) by PiMuNu on Tuesday October 29 2019, @02:28PM (1 child)

                by PiMuNu (3823) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @02:28PM (#913272)

                > Kessler syndrome is not a problem

                Ah, okay. I guess that was my concern. I can't find any good info on that beyond definition. Thanks.

                By the way this is cool:

                http://stuffin.space/ [stuffin.space]

                • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Thursday October 31 2019, @01:08AM

                  by deimtee (3272) on Thursday October 31 2019, @01:08AM (#913964) Journal

                  That is cool, be even nicer if it had some selection options like show only min/max/range apogee/perigee/mass/eccentricity.

                  It also sort of makes my point about collisions between Sspacex's satellites being unlikely.

                  --
                  No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
            • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday October 29 2019, @02:29PM (1 child)

              by Immerman (3985) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 29 2019, @02:29PM (#913273)

              It depends what you mean by "cross"

              As seen from below - as long as two satellites are at different altitudes, they can obviously "cross" without problems. With noncircular orbits you could even have A cross above B at one point, and B cross above A at the opposite point.

              As soon as you have two satellites passing through the exact same point in space though, things become a lot more complicated. So long as they have *exactly* the same period, you can do it - you just have to make sure they pass through the intersection point at different times. But if one satellite has a period even a few seconds longer than the other, then a collision becomes inevitable: If they missed each other by an hour this pass, then next pass they'll miss each other by 59 minutes and 55 seconds, then ...and 50 seconds. And after 720 passes passes they won't miss. And given the period of low orbits, that'll happen within a few months.

              Obviously you can correct one or both orbits before the moment of collision arrives, but that consumes limited propellant, increasing cost. And you have to do it regularly, because solar wind, atmospheric drag, interactions with Earth's magnetic field, etc. are all constantly nudging satellites out of their "assigned" orbits So generally you just want to avoid intersecting orbits altogether. Rings of satellites in the same orbit theoretically need the same adjustments to avoid collision - but they're subjected to much more consistent perturbations, and they remain at very low relative speed to each other, so you can rely on direct observations of positional stability rather than calculating future collisions based on imperfect velocity measurements.

              • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Wednesday October 30 2019, @08:26AM

                by deimtee (3272) on Wednesday October 30 2019, @08:26AM (#913629) Journal

                Speed in low earth orbit is typically several km/s. Your 5 second interval is a path >20 km long, of which the satellite is going to occupy a metres or so. Even if the heights match to the metre, the timing has to match up to less than a millisecond.
                I still maintain that the cheapest solution would be to simply assume they can pass through each other, and launch some spares for the very rare occasion that turns out to not be the case.

                --
                No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jmichaelhudsondotnet on Tuesday October 29 2019, @03:14PM (3 children)

    by jmichaelhudsondotnet (8122) on Tuesday October 29 2019, @03:14PM (#913286) Journal

    So if 1000 satellites beamed at someone's head at full power, could they explode someone's head or otherwise kill them?

    What are the limits of what these things, with all constructive interference, harmonics and resonance going on, could do to a human being?

    One day there will be no more Mr. Musk and it will just be the shadowy head of VersizonandTandT corp and there won't even be a way to ask this question.

    Peoples' heads could explode like on war of the worlds and at that point there is nothing you could do but run and hide and/or play dumb.

    We are being written into a gruesome sci fi story where the people making decisions have never read any sci fi, so.....

    Gosh the people setting up the species for extinction are getting so rich at it!

    thesesytemsarefailing.net

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 30 2019, @12:27AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 30 2019, @12:27AM (#913508)

      These are communications satellites, not power satellites, so their transmit power isn't very high. They are also flying very low so you will never have more than a small fraction above the horizon at any given moment. They need 1200 for global coverage, which should mean three visible satellites at a time from anywhere. If they up that to 12k total, that would still only be 30 visible at a time.

      • (Score: 2) by jmichaelhudsondotnet on Wednesday October 30 2019, @06:39PM (1 child)

        by jmichaelhudsondotnet (8122) on Wednesday October 30 2019, @06:39PM (#913823) Journal

        Thanks, informative.

        Just because low power does not mean not capable to harm humans, but guess we'll have to wait and see.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 31 2019, @01:16AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 31 2019, @01:16AM (#913968)

          Your nearest cell phone tower puts more radiation through your head than the Spacex satellites could, even if they devoted the entire constellation to beaming full power directly at you.

(1)