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posted by martyb on Monday January 06 2020, @09:17PM   Printer-friendly

[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

Related Stories

SpaceX Starlink Satellite Prototypes Include Packed, Flexible Solar Arrays 9 comments

SpaceX's Starlink satellites may use unique solar array deployment mechanism

Spotted on an official SpaceX T-shirt commemorating Starlink's first two prototype satellites and corroborated through analysis of limited public photos of the spacecraft, SpaceX appears to be testing a relatively unique style of solar arrays on the first two satellites launched into orbit, known as Tintin A (Alice) and B (Bob).

It's difficult to judge anything concrete from the nature of what may be immature prototypes, but SpaceX's decision to take a major step away from its own style of solar expertise – Cargo Dragon's traditional rigid panel arrays – is almost certainly motivated by a need to push beyond the current state of the art of satellite design and production.

Unlike any discernible solar panel deployment mechanism with a flight history, SpaceX's Starlink engineers seem to have taken a style of deployment used successfully on the International Space Station and mixed it with a modern style of solar arrays, relying on several flexible panels that can be efficiently packed together and designed to be extremely lightweight. While a major departure from SpaceX's successful Cargo Dragon solar arrays, the mechanisms visible on the Tintins seem to have the potential to improve upon the packing efficiency, ease of manufacturing, and number of failure modes present on Dragon's panels.

[...] To give an idea of where the industry currently stands, satellite internet provider Viasat launched its own Viasat-2 spacecraft in 2017. Weighing in around 6500 kg (14300 lb), the immense satellite cost at least $600 million and offers an instantaneous bandwidth of 300 gigabits per second, impressive but also gobsmackingly expensive at $2 million/Gbps. To ever hope to make Starlink a reality, SpaceX will need to beat that value by at least a factor of 5-10, producing Starlink satellites for no more than $1-3 million apiece ($4.5B-$13.5B alone to manufacture the initial 4,425 satellite constellation) with a bandwidth of 20 Gbps – baselined in official statements.

"Starlink is a satellite constellation development project underway by SpaceX, to develop a low-cost, high-performance satellite bus and requisite customer ground transceivers to implement a new space-based Internet communication system. By 2017, SpaceX had submitted regulatory filings to launch a total of nearly 12,000 satellites to orbit by the mid-2020s."

Previously: SpaceX Deploys Broadband Test Satellites, Fails to Catch Entire Fairing
SpaceX Valued at $25 Billion... and More


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

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

SpaceX Seeks Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations, Faces Pentagon Audit 15 comments

SpaceX seeks FCC OK for 1 million satellite broadband Earth stations

SpaceX is seeking US approval to deploy up to 1 million Earth stations to receive transmissions from its planned satellite broadband constellation.

The Federal Communications Commission last year gave SpaceX permission to deploy 11,943 low-Earth orbit satellites for the planned Starlink system. A new application from SpaceX Services, a sister company, asks the FCC for "a blanket license authorizing operation of up to 1,000,000 Earth stations that end-user customers will utilize to communicate with SpaceX's NGSO [non-geostationary orbit] constellation."

The application was published by FCC.report, a third-party site that tracks FCC filings. GeekWire reported the news on Friday. An FCC spokesperson confirmed to Ars today that SpaceX filed the application on February 1, 2019.

If each end-user Earth station provides Internet service to one building, SpaceX could eventually need authorization for more than 1 million stations in the US. SpaceX job listings describe the user terminal as "a high-volume manufactured product customers will have in their homes."

SpaceX's First Dedicated Starlink Launch Set for May; Amazon Hired SpaceX Execs for Project Kuiper 7 comments

SpaceX's first batch of operational Starlink satellites will launch no earlier than May 2019:

SpaceX has announced a launch target of May 2019 for the first batch of operational Starlink satellites in a sign that the proposed internet satellite constellation has reached a major milestone, effectively transitioning from pure research and development to serious manufacturing.

R&D will continue as SpaceX Starlink engineers work to implement the true final design of the first several hundred or thousand spacecraft, but a significant amount of the team's work will now be centered on producing as many Starlink satellites as possible, as quickly as possible. With anywhere from 4400 to nearly 12,000 satellites needed to complete the three major proposed phases of Starlink, SpaceX will have to build and launch more than 2200 satellites in the next five years, averaging 44 high-performance, low-cost spacecraft built and launched every month for the next 60 months.

[...] According to SpaceX filings with the FCC, the first group of operational satellites – potentially anywhere from 75 to 1000 or more – will rely on just one band ("Ku") for communications instead of the nominal two ("Ku" and "Ka"), a change that SpaceX says will significantly simplify the first spacecraft. By simplifying them, SpaceX believes it can expedite Starlink's initial deployment without losing a great deal of performance or interfering with constellations from competitors like OneWeb.

Amazon's planned 3,236-satellite broadband constellation, Project Kuiper, is being developed by former SpaceX employees:

Amazon's satellite internet plan is increasingly looking like the one Elon Musk has at SpaceX, with thousands of spacecraft that are compact in size. Among the reasons for the similarities, people tell CNBC, is that Jeff Bezos has hired some of Musk's previous senior management.

Former SpaceX vice president of satellites Rajeev Badyal and a couple members of his team are now leading Amazon's Project Kuiper, people familiar with the situation told CNBC.

[...] Badyal previously ran the "Starlink" division at SpaceX, which launched its first two test satellites last year. [...] Musk fired Badyal in June, one of the people said, confirming reports last year that the SpaceX CEO had become frustrated with the pace of Starlink's development. That was about four months after the launch of the first two Starlink test satellites. According to FCC documents, Starlink will become operational once at least 800 satellites are deployed.

Previously: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Fired Managers and Employees in June to Shake Up Starlink Project
SpaceX Seeks Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations, Faces Pentagon Audit
SpaceX and OneWeb Clash Over Proposed Satellite Constellation Orbits

Related: Relativity Space Selected to Launch Satellites for Telesat


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

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

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.

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's Starship Can Launch 400 Starlink Satellites at Once 21 comments

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

Astrophysicists Peeved As SpaceX's Starlink Sats Block Meteor Spotting 29 comments

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Skywatchers in Spain recording meteors being transformed into brilliant streaks of light by atmospheric compression are a bit miffed – as their view was rudely interrupted by a slew of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites.

Below is a short clip of what it looked like above La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands last week. The meteor shower known as Alpha Monocerotids crisscrossed the sky, though it becomes hard to spot them once the satellites come flooding in.

SpaceX's table-sized Starlink birds, which sport reflective solar panels, are closer and brighter as they zip across the camera’s line of sight like machine gun bullets.

Starlink satellites during a meteor shower on Nov. 22. pic.twitter.com/wJVk1qu49E

— Patrick Treuthardt, Ph.D. (@PTreuthardt)

Denis Vida, a geophysics PhD student at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, who wrote the code to generate the footage above captured from one of the Global Meteor Network’s cameras, said the obstruction happens every day.

“Note that this was not a one time occurrence,” he told The Register. “We see this every day before dawn with about half the cameras in our network. During that time we effectively lose about half our field of view because of this.

[...] “These satellites will most definitely interfere with important astronomical observations which can have implications on predicting future meteor shower outburst. Accurate meteor shower predictions are essential for understanding the hazard they pose to spacecraft – do you see the irony? – and astronauts in orbit.


Original Submission

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(1)
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Monday January 06 2020, @09:36PM (8 children)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday January 06 2020, @09:36PM (#940373) Journal

    SpaceX is launching these so fast that astronomers can barely gather to talk about it.

    There's a session at AAS 235 [aas.org] devoted to the topic of Starlink big satellite constellations. I think the topic is being presented on the last day (8th):

    https://aas.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/AAS235-Meeting-Abstracts.pdf [aas.org]

    410 - Special Session - Challenges to Astronomy from Satellites
    410.02 - The Emergence of Low-Earth Orbiting Satellite Constellations and Their Impact on Astronomy
    410.03 - Mega-Constellations of Satellites and Optical Astronomy
    410.05 - Radio Astronomy in a New Era of Radiocommunication

    For their part, SpaceX is in communication with a working group at AAS [aas.org].

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Monday January 06 2020, @10:01PM (7 children)

      by ikanreed (3164) on Monday January 06 2020, @10:01PM (#940384) Journal

      Move fast, break everythings.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06 2020, @10:07PM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06 2020, @10:07PM (#940388)

        shit on everything that doesn't make me money

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Monday January 06 2020, @10:12PM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday January 06 2020, @10:12PM (#940392) Journal

          Fuck you, got mine.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 07 2020, @11:35AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 07 2020, @11:35AM (#940591)

            my telescope is a whole moon crater ...

        • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Tuesday January 07 2020, @05:36PM (3 children)

          by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Tuesday January 07 2020, @05:36PM (#940681)

          shit on everything that doesn't make me money

          I'm waiting for SpaceX to announce they've designed cheap bulk space telescopes that they are going to offer as an off-the-shelf buyable item or as a cloud service. That feels like a Musk solution.

          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday January 09 2020, @03:47AM (2 children)

            by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday January 09 2020, @03:47AM (#941312) Journal

            Enabling the cheap+fast launch of cheap and/or giant space telescopes is the way that Starship both causes and fixes the problem of too much stuff in orbit "ruining" astronomy.

            The advantages that ground based telescopes have are going to wane in the coming years. You can deploy telescopes in space that have structures that would not be sound on Earth in the presence of weight and wind. It's possible that optical interferometry will be easier in space.

            --
            [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
            • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Thursday January 09 2020, @05:27AM (1 child)

              by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Thursday January 09 2020, @05:27AM (#941337)

              It also solves the light pollution issue and doesn't involve building on any protected heritage sites. +1 +1

              I don't think Starlink is going to be the thing that kills terrestrial astronomy. My guess is it's orbital solar power that does it in. I hope one day my kids will be able to look up in the night sky and see massive reflectors. That would be pretty cool.

              • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday January 09 2020, @05:57AM

                by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday January 09 2020, @05:57AM (#941343) Journal

                That would be wild, and China is expressing interest [cnbc.com].

                But I would expect that Starlink will only dominate the total number of satellites for a while. Starlink will reach 40-50k satellites, and other competitors (Amazon/Blue Origin, Telesat, China...) will eventually raise the total to 200k+. 1 million satellites and other objects in Earth orbit sounds realistic within the coming decades. If there is a linear relationship between the number of satellites and ground-based data quality, then R.I.P.

                --
                [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 2) by legont on Monday January 06 2020, @10:21PM (3 children)

    by legont (4179) on Monday January 06 2020, @10:21PM (#940395)

    After 60 plus years of progress, private enterprise, even heavily sponsored, still can't beat governments.

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Monday January 06 2020, @10:25PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday January 06 2020, @10:25PM (#940398) Journal

      And why would we use that headline? If you are referencing Commercial Crew, this launch has nothing to do with Commercial Crew.

      Humans shouldn't really be going to space at all unless we have cheap to launch fully reusable rockets, something that no government can beat.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by legont on Tuesday January 07 2020, @04:29AM (1 child)

        by legont (4179) on Tuesday January 07 2020, @04:29AM (#940525)

        Let me put it straight. The headline says that SpaceX is the "largest satellite operator" which is outright lie designed for idiots who do not read the body of the message. Pure and simple brain washing.

        --
        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06 2020, @10:35PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06 2020, @10:35PM (#940400)

    The original business plan called for the birds to be interconnected with laser links.

    Some back of the envelope to see if this is possible:

    Assume the system is partitioned to use commercial fiber transceivers coupled to telescope/steering systems.
    (I'm assuming one would build a 'home' for the transceiver which makes it think it is on the ground.)

    For a 100Gig link, 40dB is a possible link loss.
    At 1000 miles between birds and 1500nm, the telescopes need to be 1/2 meter diameter to provide a 40dB loss.
    Halving the wavelength gives you 12dB.
    Halving the diameter costs you 12dB.
    Cutting the bitrate by 10x gives you 10dB, but kind of makes the link marginally interesting.

    Hopefully, my envelope is wrong, but if not it seems unlikely that there is a useful set of choices to build a system you can launch 4 of on each sat?

    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday January 07 2020, @05:40AM (2 children)

      by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday January 07 2020, @05:40AM (#940539)

      Are you using link-loss for fiber, or perfectly straight line-of-sight through vacuum? I would think they would be quite different.

      Is there some reason to assume the receivers telescopes aren't half a meter across? That's really a pretty small mirror when you get down to it. Especially since you're only trying to amplify a 1D signal, so the mirror doesn't need the precision of a telescope intended for imaging, just a nice shiny piece of stamped and polished stainless steel (at a guess...) close-to-parabolic light collector rather akin to a tiny solar oven.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 07 2020, @01:33PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 07 2020, @01:33PM (#940615)

        Assuming a free space vacuum path between the telescopes.
        The path loss is due to the beam width from the telescopes due to their difraction limit.

        Not sure about the precision of the telescopes. Seems like all the photons need to stay in phase to add together?

        To me, four 1/2 meter mirrors and pointing systems seems pretty big compared to each of the 60 sats they are launching.

        • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday January 07 2020, @02:53PM

          by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday January 07 2020, @02:53PM (#940640)

          >The path loss is due to the beam width from the telescopes due to their diffraction limit.
          How wide a beam are you assuming? A full half-meter at transmission? I know the wider the beam, the slower it diverges.

          I'm not sure just how big an individual satellite is, all I've found reference to is mass (100-500kg), but I'm assuming those round things are transcievers, and they could easily be a half-meter across: https://www.reddit.com/r/SpaceXLounge/comments/7zfdwn/starlink_demonstration_satellite_image/ [reddit.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 07 2020, @11:40AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 07 2020, @11:40AM (#940594)

    hihihi:"where are you hidding your router?"
    "in orbit, nyaa!"

    muticast should be interesting ... and torrenting too.

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