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posted by chromas on Thursday November 01 2018, @10:59PM   Printer-friendly

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


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  • (Score: 2) by Tara Li on Friday November 09 2018, @01:47AM (1 child)

    by Tara Li (6248) on Friday November 09 2018, @01:47AM (#759645)

    A satellite in a 210 mile orbit is only 210 miles from the transmitter/receiver when it is directly over-head, something that is a fairly rare instantaneous event. Figure in the cross-connection while in orbit, and yeah, a thousand mile trip from ground station to ground station (ignoring the ground station to server segment of the interaction - will Starlink provide ground station to any major data center, or will they try to convince the data centers to buy those connections?)

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday November 09 2018, @02:15AM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday November 09 2018, @02:15AM (#759658) Journal

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_(satellite_constellation) [wikipedia.org]

    They plan to have 7,518 satellites in the lower orbit. So while it will be rare for one to be directly overhead, they could be "nearby" often.

    https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-starlink-internet-constellation-a-license-to-print-money/ [teslarati.com]

    With all 4425 satellites in place, the benefits approach or even surpass theoretical best-case statistics for literal straight-line fiber optic cables. Of course, SpaceX’s true proposal includes yet another 7520 very low Earth orbit (VLEO) Starlink satellites (~350 km) that would more than double the bandwidth available while potentially cutting another huge chunk out of the already unsurpassable latency performance of LEO Starlink (~1100-1300 km).

    Apparently the optimists believe that Starlink at the HIGHER orbit will beat existing networks.

    I can't answer your other questions yet. I'm just saying that when the service becomes available, I will look at the reviews. If real users indicate that the hype is to be believed, I will ditch whatever ISPs I'm currently using and throw money at Starlink. I think I would pay $70-100 a month for it.

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