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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 24 2019, @11:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the skynet-is-here dept.

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/


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 24 2019, @04:03PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 24 2019, @04:03PM (#911247)

    Thanks, the Hackaday link is pretty clear. They have no bird to bird comms yet, so the routing is more like GSGGGGSGGGSG.

    That could provide some internet access to regions limited by the availability of ground stations.
    It seems unlikely to provide much in the low latency arena.

    I wonder if these reduced capability sats qualify towards the minimum on orbit number needed for the FCC?

  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 24 2019, @06:16PM

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday October 24 2019, @06:16PM (#911307) Journal

    I wonder if these reduced capability sats qualify towards the minimum on orbit number needed for the FCC?

    Even if they didn't, I don't think it's a problem.

    They will transition to Starship for launches, likely fitting hundreds in very comfortably, with each launch being much cheaper than a Falcon 9 launch. They could launch using the same fully reusable Starship as fast as they can build the satellites.

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

    By April 2019, SpaceX was transitioning their satellite efforts from R&D to manufacturing, with the planned first launch of a large batch of satellites to orbit, and the clear need to achieve an average launch rate of "44 high-performance, low-cost spacecraft built and launched every month for the next 60 months" to get the 2,200 satellites launched to support their FCC spectrum allocation license assignment. SpaceX said they will meet the deadline of having half the constellation "in orbit within six years of authorization ... and the full system in nine years."

    The minimum amount they need seems really low. 2,200 sats could be less than 10 Starship flights, or 37 Falcon 9s (a bad scenario that requires lots of upper stages to be built, but doable). I guess it has gotten complicated because they have changed their plans multiple times.

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