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SpaceX halves the orbiting height for part of their satellite internet network

By mongeese · 12 replies
Apr 28, 2019
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  1. SpaceX’s upcoming satellite internet network Starlink will pair thousands of internet-beaming satellites with one million ground stations to provide internet access to the entire globe. Half the satellites required will be launched by 2024, leading to a limited commercial rollout in three to five years.

    In March last year, the FCC approved the first batch of satellites: 4425 orbiting between 1100 km (685 miles) and 1325 km (825 miles). In November, SpaceX received approval for the second batch, 7518 satellites orbiting at 345 km (215 miles). However, SpaceX then threw a spanner in the works and requested that 1584 satellites from the first batch be shifted down to 550 km (340 miles), and the FCC has now finally approved that as well.

    SpaceX is now fully authorized to launch and operate all 11,924 satellites they need for Starlink.

    “This approval underscores the FCC’s confidence in SpaceX’s plans to deploy its next-generation satellite constellation and connect people around the world with reliable and affordable broadband service,” SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said.

    SpaceX learned from their test satellites TinTin A and B that lowering the orbit reduces the number of satellites needed by sixteen and makes them much easier to push into Earth’s atmosphere so they can burn up when it comes to clean-up time. It also reduces latency to just 15 milliseconds, 1/67 of a second.

    Of course, there are risks too: a higher chance of colliding with other satellites and the potential for generating signal interference for other networks. The FCC addressed the former saying, “SpaceX claims, because all its satellites have propulsion and are maneuverable to prevent collisions, they are considered to pose zero risk to any other satellites in this orbital region.” Regarding the latter, they simply declared that the approval was in the public’s best interest.

    SpaceX plans to launch the first production batch of satellites sometime next month. They’d better be quick with getting more up there though: Amazon has also jumped on the bandwagon, as have Keplar Communications, Telesat Canada, LeoSat, OneWeb, Boeing and Facebook.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Eldritch

    Eldritch TS Addict Posts: 128   +125

    Almost 12, 000 satellites by one company! What the... Then there are others on the line too. Basically the space is set to become a junkyard by 2050 in case of any catastrophe and no space exploration will be feasible for quite some time.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  3. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 382   +410

    SpaceX designed their constellation of satellites so that when they're at end of usable life, they will fall to earth to fully burn up in the atmosphere since they're so small.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
    DaveBG and H3llion like this.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,969   +4,003

    WTF? (That syntax needs a bit of a touch up. Apologies for mentioning it).
  5. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,966   +1,230

    Apparently they won't stay in orbit long. At that low of an orbit, will they not need a LOT of fuel to maintain a LEO? Fuel is "heavy", these are TINY, so they won't hold much fuel.

    On the "plus" side...if you ever look at a NORAD photo of all the crap floating above our planet, you can see why the "little green men" never visit...it looks like we have a MAGNETIC SHIELD above out little 3rd rock from the sun LOL.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  6. DaveBG

    DaveBG TS Maniac Posts: 413   +155

    This will allow Tesla cars to have connection everywhere in the world even in places where there is no cell coverage. :) Awesome!
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,969   +4,003

    Yeah, being tracked all over the world by your nanny car company, awesome..:poop:

    All you need then, is to carry a Windows 10 tablet and an iPhone with you at all times, which will once and for all, drive a stake through the heart of any privacy to which you may have deluded yourself into thinking you still had while out there on the open road.

    Hey, maybe they could work this out as an advertising slogan. Something like, "You're never alone with Tesla, the helicopter parent of the auto industry".

    I was going to pen a parody jingle to the tune of, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town:, but somehow, it didn't seem worth the effort.

    Sic: "you better drive straight, you better not swerve, Elon Musk is tracking, your moves". (et al)

    I mean think about it, are you really going to drive out to the middle of the Sahara Desert and try to call somebody?

    Although I suppose it could come in handy, were your stolen Tesla to be on a container ship bound for Nigeria. (Assuming the signal would be strong enough to penetrate the container walls).
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
    wiyosaya likes this.
  8. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 382   +410

  9. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    Giving SpaceX a potential revenue stream, IF they can figure out how to sell launching replacement satellites - OR a potential cash drain if they can't figure that out.
  10. Markoni35

    Markoni35 TS Booster Posts: 196   +93

    Actually most of people own an Android. And we all know that Android is the worst piece of crap when it comes to privacy. iPhone may be more expensive, but it's also a lot safer. Google was financed by NSA for fck sake. When it comes to privacy, there's nobody worse than Google.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,969   +4,003

    I mentioned three different devices in collaboration for the loss of privacy, the car, a Windows tablet, and an iPhone

    Are you saying I shouldn't have mentioned Apple? Or do you just want to argue Android versus iPhone privacy?

    None of that withstanding, if someone is hipster enough to own a Tesla, then iPhone seems more likely to be their choice of distraction for running their yaps behind the wheel.
  12. DaveBG

    DaveBG TS Maniac Posts: 413   +155

    No one is disputing the fact that they will be tracking you the same way Apple and Microsoft does, in fact I agree with that. I personally have Android phone, on custom ROM with none of the tracking viruses. However purely for the cars sake it is beneficial. In this sense I believe for myself that I will be able to block the car from collecting data and allow it in case I need the self driving options. Also remember the "I have nothing to hide" crowd. They will provide the data needed for me as well. So selfishly it is a good thing.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,969   +4,003

    @DaveBG Keep in mind that the first car I had with seat belts, front disc brakes, electronic ignition, and a catalytic converter, was a 1975 Pontiac Le Mans. That was the year the EPA castrated all passenger cats of any aspirations of high performance. It's 350 cid V-8 put out a whopping 155 BHP..

    I was bitter that I missed the 1974 issue, as that same 350, had 295 bhp and no cat.

    Anyway, for all its constraints, it wasn't attached to anything, nor monitored by any entity. Well the state police did have radar guns, and they were sneaky, hiding behind brontosauruses, then shooting between their legs as they grazed on high tree branches.

    In any case, I'm quite the dinosaur myself, or I perceive myself thought of as such, since I demand a vehicle without any linkage to any outside authority. I swear after I saw Progressive's "snap shot" plug in nanny driver, I would never touch their insurance with a ten foot pole..

    That's not because I'm lawless behind the wheel, or have aspirations toward being so. It was because those **sholes might be trying to raise my insurance rates, because I go 40, an a stretch of road where the limit is 35, but every local who knows the area goes 40 as well, and I refuse to have some computer chip ratting on me about it.

    The trouble with "progress" such as having a car constantly monitored by any central agency, it that ir sets a terribly draconian precedent. Any "advancement", is destined to become mandatory.

    And shortly I fear, institutionally tracked autonomous vehicles will be mandatory as well.

    In a round about sort of way it comes back to my pet peeve of overpopulation. It logically follows that with too many people on the road, obviously we can't be trusted to pilot our own vehicles. Therefore that right or privilege, as it were, will be legislated away from us.

    But, to my bizarre, eccentric, and perhaps illogical way of thinking, we don't need more gun laws either, we need saner people who have had better parents.

    So, constant monitoring of your vehicle, and self driving capability fall into the category of, "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it...........rammed down your throat.

    So, that which "seems like a good idea ar the time", to me is just an excuse and an inducement to usher in and allow a police state, in the disguise of a democracy.
    Last edited: May 2, 2019

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