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posted by martyb on Thursday October 17 2019, @07:17AM   Printer-friendly
from the orbital-mechanics-is-circular-reasoning dept.

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.


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  • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Thursday October 17 2019, @05:22PM (3 children)

    by istartedi (123) on Thursday October 17 2019, @05:22PM (#908392) Journal

    Whatever service is going to be offered by this, I'd like to boycot it before it even gets off the ground. Come on, Elon. You've got some cool ideas. This is not one of them.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 17 2019, @05:53PM (2 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday October 17 2019, @05:53PM (#908404) Journal

    Many millions of people living outside of cities would disagree with you.

    The satellites are designed to deorbit. Impacts on astronomy are manageable. Compare 42,000 within multiple orbits to the number of cars on Earth. They won't be hitting each other very often.

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    • (Score: 2) by edIII on Thursday October 17 2019, @08:48PM (1 child)

      by edIII (791) on Thursday October 17 2019, @08:48PM (#908481)

      Impacts on astronomy are manageable

      Just like a walk up Mt. Everest is "manageable". It apparently takes quite a bit of sophistication and effort to remove the effects of satellites and our activity from space from the data. Here's [] an example with a good explanation. You can click the photo to see before and after processing. Notice the before picture. That's now, what the heck would it look like with 40,000 more satellites in LEO?

      You're understating the amount of effort required, and missing that it's not actually possible to get a clean picture of space anymore. Space now requires photoshop to look good :)

      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 17 2019, @10:54PM

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday October 17 2019, @10:54PM (#908555) Journal

        It all comes down to exposures and exposure times, the field of view of the telescope, etc. Almost all useful astronomy involves data processing already. The image you linked represents over 18.5 hours of data. No wonder there are trails in it.

        The issue is unavoidable as Earth becomes space-faring (for real). Might as well get used to it soon.

        SpaceX offers both the "problem" and solution with one rocket. Starship will make it very cheap to launch hundreds of Starlink satellites at a time, and it will also make it cheap to launch lots of tiny and gigantic space telescopes. Space telescopes will become much larger and more capable than ground-based telescopes, since they don't have to deal with the same mechanical stresses. Maybe you can get to 100-meter aperture on Earth (e.g. OWL [] or Colossus []). In space we could see 1000-meter or larger modular telescopes, swarms of telescopes [], easier optical inteferometry [], etc. These can be placed above all of the broadband constellation satellites or further out at L2. Construction of new large ground-based telescopes will slow down, although we may see some being built on the Moon. The existing ones will still get plenty of use as long as there is budget for it, even with all of the satellites zipping around.

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