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THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!

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We've discussed it before, but now it's tested, and you won't believe how fast this will happen! This is huge! Space X has already launched 60 Starlink broadband  satellites, and just tweeted through it to announce it:

Excerpts:

"SpaceX is confident it can start offering broadband service in the United States via its Starlink constellation in mid-2020, the company’s president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said Oct. 22.

Getting there will require the company to launch six to eight batches of satellites, Shotwell told reporters during a media roundtable. SpaceX also has to finish the design and engineering of the user terminals, which is not a minor challenge, Shotwell acknowledged.

Shotwell said SpaceX will need to complete six to eight Starlink launches — including the one that already took place in May — to ensure continuous service in upper and lower latitude bands. “We need 24 launches to get global coverage,” she said. “Every launch after that gives you more capacity.”

The company caused a stir last week when it requested the International Telecommunication Union to approve spectrum for 30,000 additional Starlink satellites to build the world’s largest low-Earth orbit broadband constellation. This was in addition to 12,000 already approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Shotwell said SpaceX is not certain that will need that many satellites. Far fewer are needed for global coverage but the company wants extra spacecraft to be able to offer customers customized service options. Starlink is a mesh network of satellites connected to each other by space lasers.

https://spacenews.com/spacex-plans-to-start-offering-starlink-broadband-services-in-2020/

Cue naysayers, negative Musk comments, experts who've never built a mini sat or examined one, and the folks who say he'll never hit that deadline. The only thing remotely possible is that he is three to six months late. But he's gotten better - like that on-time under-budget largest battery in the world he built with Tesla energy division in South Australia that made millions in its first few months. I think it still is the largest since 2017:

https://www.popsci.com/tesla-building-worlds-biggest-battery-how-it-will-work/

 

 

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Impressive. It is quoted in the separate links 100 Mw and 37.5 Mw of power. How much energy is being stored. That is how many Mega Watt - Hours is stored or should I say how many Amp - Hours since it a battery.  But my real interest is how much AC power can be returned to the the electrical system for peaking or regulation.

Clay.

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14 hours ago, ms60ocb said:

Impressive. It is quoted in the separate links 100 Mw and 37.5 Mw of power. How much energy is being stored. That is how many Mega Watt - Hours is stored or should I say how many Amp - Hours since it a battery.  But my real interest is how much AC power can be returned to the the electrical system for peaking or regulation.

Clay.

Not a bit, even if you could figure a way to beam that power back to earth with more than 0.00001% arriving at the destination.  The best way to return power to the grid would be to turn off the satellite modems at each user's house.

37.5 Mw divided by 36,000 satellites is just over 1,000 watts per bird.  Divide that by two since each satellite is in darkness half of the time and you have about 500 watts continuous power to run all of the onboard electronics including the earth link transmitter.  Not a lot of power.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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Sure hope this all comes about at a reasonable cost.  Using Hughes Net where other internet isn't available sucks.  Supposedly fast and unlimited internet can only be found in their ads.

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Musk just announced there would be a working array in 2020, December 30th probably. But I'm looking forward to seeing what he has to offer, other than vaporware.

Edited by agesilaus

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Yes I'm looking forward to what Space X comes up with in a broadband Space Mesh satellite constellation.

Good answer Lou without more info. Remember when we'd hoped Gates would somehow do his Teledesic System just before the turn of the century. Launches were too expensive, and Gates did not have a successful rocket company - Musk does. The ULA (United Launch Alliance - essentially Boeing and Lockheed) is still using the Russian RD-180 engines for their Atlas ISS resupply missions AFAIK. But The ULA is Boeing and Lockheed, and aside from charging twice as much then as Space X did and does, even more so not able to develop their own capacity for reusing the rockets, they just seem to be falling further behind in space.  Now for space vaporware they take the cake. Boeing's  been in the airplane biz since 1916, a century or more, but can't seem to get their last jet to fly reliably and the rumors now are they knew about the issues but covered them up. My point? If they can't do what they supposedly know, how are they going to best Musk to Mars, a NASA goal with only the ULA and Tesla competing for the mission. And now this: Oct. 22 2019

Will 777X Flight Test Failure Hit Boeing's (BA) Q3 Earnings?

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/777x-flight-test-failure-hit-140902158.html

Now that's not vaporware just another production failure.

Back to the topic. When Musk took over at Tesla in 2003 or so and said he was going to disrupt the status quo ICE age engines. He's actually done that already despite some "Dead Companies Walking." Everyone knows that all the world's car makers are going all electric as soon as they can despite being about 5-10 years behind Tesla. Y'all can argue that the big American manufacturers haven't made the statements that Daimler Benz, Volkswagen Gruppe, Volvo, and most companies in China and India, have. That they are going all electric ASAP for them. The American companies don't know what to do and it may be too late. They say there is no profit in EVs and Tesla is finally turned that corner this past quarter according to some market analysts. Musk executes, love him or hate him no one can believe different unless they refuse to actually look. I have seen a lot of willful ignorance.

Remember Boeing getting him laughed out of Moscow by their Russian buddies? Then when Musk said he was not going to rely on our traditional enemies and would have a rocket designed, built, and tested in five years and Boeing tried to laugh him off saying that even Boeing could not do a new engine in even ten years. Musk did. Musk said he would land his rockets boosters for reuse lowering costs and increasing margins, Everyone laughed then Bezos with a low altitude test actually beat Musk but Musk did it with actual space missions and are the only company currently able to with virtually 100% success. Not Boeing, not Lockheed, not even Richard Branson.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/09/30/why-spacexs-starship-rocket-represents-the-future-of-spaceflight/

Excerpt:

"SpaceX’s Starship Rocket Represents The Future Of Spaceflight

September 30th, 2019 by Harry Stoltz 

SpaceX’s presentation on Saturday night in Boca Chica was an exciting and uplifting event that focused mainly on development changes since last year’s “Dear Moon” event for their rocket, Starship. I was at the Boca Chica event to report back on the updates for CleanTechnica.

SpaceX Starship Harry Stoltz CleanTechnica

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk kicked off the presentation by talking about the company’s Starship MK-1 rocket, which dazzled in the moonlight behind the stage at the event. Musk detailed that the main purpose of the event was to “inspire the public, and to excite people about our future in space.” Musk stressed the importance of becoming a spacefaring civilization that makes people “excited to be alive.” In order to achieve multi-planetary status, rockets will need to reach rapid reusability of all components."

Much more with pics and links here: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/09/30/why-spacexs-starship-rocket-represents-the-future-of-spaceflight/

Now the Starlink system. (Anybody see Boeing in all this other than non flying concepts, could they be vaporware?) The ULA land any spacecraft for reuse? Isn't that a requirement for a Mars mission? Now that is Vaporware. Launch and land one Boeing, before the Mars mission by Space X, and I'll stand corrected. But you might want to stick with what you know, building transport commercial jets. But you are faltering in what you're supposed to know too! How are you going to build your own engines for local launches, and one for Mars, when you can't do what you know, Jets, reliably, as we saw above!

Edited by RV_

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I'm so sick of the horrendous fees we pay for cell phones. I'm waiting anxiously for someone like Musk/SpaceX to drive the cellular prices down and offer space based internet so we can stop dealing with the mess of crappy cell towers.

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Neal, Musk's Space X, still privately held by him, just launched their second set of 60 StarLink Satellites in the past week: https://observer.com/2019/11/spacex-launch-60-starlink-satellites-broadband-internet-elon-musk-tweet/

The number will likely swell to 30,000 satellites. RVrs would have broadband everywhere as well as Mariners and hikers in the wilderness and jungle explorers. As well as the third world countries.

SpaceX, Elon Musk Wants To Launch 30,000 More Starlink Satellites

https://www.ibtimes.com/spacex-elon-musk-wants-launch-30000-more-starlink-satellites-2847795

It won't be long now. I'm also getting a Tesla Model 3 or maybe wait for the truck. We'll see when it's unveiled next Thursday. Their truck is said to have torque and towing capacity more like a HDT than a light duty. This year Tesla will be exciting to watch. Tesla will also have paid for my Tesla and house. Lot's of fun yet to be had.

Edited by RV_

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I've been watching it. This is so needed. I'm hoping Amazon (JB) will also do the same and have some space competition. I just despise cell towers, glad someone is moving to the future. I hope they can deliver the bandwidth and grow to the needs over time. 

Remember what we paid for a phone in the house back in the '70's? Sucks we are paying that if not 2x and 3x (people with kids, etc.) for monthly phone costs!

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1 hour ago, NealC said:

Remember what we paid for a phone in the house back in the '70's? Sucks we are paying that if not 2x and 3x (people with kids, etc.) for monthly phone costs!

With all due respect, I think we were paying something on the order of ~$50/mo for a wireline phone in our last s&b ~10 years ago.  That was only a voice phone and was capable of <29kbps.  If all I wanted was an equivalent voice phone, I could,  in fact, get a cell phone for roughly the same price (in today's dollars which are worth ~85% of their value 10 years ago).  I know this to be true because that's the sort of the Verizon account I set up last year for my wife's sister.

IMO it's a bit unfair to compare the cost of today's smartphones to the phones of that era.  I agree that I would like to see cell phone prices go down, but let's compare apples to apples and not oranges.

Edited by docj

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I agree on wanting cheaper unlimited services via LEO satellites, but Joel's right in that our cells are a bargain today. When I was assigned to Europe 1990-1997 I paid $20 per call for longer ones. In the 80s We paid not only for the landline, but in Louisiana they charged as much as 30 cents a minute for long distance within 25 miles. In the 2000 s we got VoIP services then bought Magic Jack and paid $60.00 for five years. As well, I could take my Magic Jack with me and make local calls back to North America from anywhere I could connect to the internet and I brought a small regular phone. I still have it and I think I still have a year or two left. It was our ultra private number , but I haven't actually plugged it in for about two years. As military we had phone bills almost as large as both our cell phones today.

But all the competition they need are the current Verizon, ATT, etc. Cell companies. They go cheaper or die out. And Musk will be competing with them too. We live in interesting, exciting times.

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2 hours ago, RV_ said:

I agree on wanting cheaper unlimited services via LEO satellites, but Joel's right in that our cells are a bargain today. When I was assigned to Europe 1990-1997 I paid $20 per call for longer ones. In the 80s We paid not only for the landline, but in Louisiana they charged as much as 30 cents a minute for long distance within 25 miles. In the 2000 s we got VoIP services then bought Magic Jack and paid $60.00 for five years. As well, I could take my Magic Jack with me and make local calls back to North America from anywhere I could connect to the internet and I brought a small regular phone. I still have it and I think I still have a year or two left. It was our ultra private number , but I haven't actually plugged it in for about two years. As military we had phone bills almost as large as both our cell phones today.

But all the competition they need are the current Verizon, ATT, etc. Cell companies. They go cheaper or die out. And Musk will be competing with them too. We live in interesting, exciting times.

X2

People forget about having long distance bills as high as the regular service bill.  Sometimes, that long distance call was just down the street, because it happened to be in another exchange.  It was like a Christmas gift when companies started using 1-800 service.

Also, people used to have one phone per household which everyone shared.  Nowadays, everyone in the house over 12 has their own phone and doorway to the world of knowledge.

Apples and oranges.

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Cell service does not need to be expensive. There are several MVNO cell phone services that have a lot more reasonable costs than the big name carriers. Right now, it's easy to get a $25/mo unlimited talk, text, and data service that uses the Verizon network with phones as low as $19 or free with a trade in. Or use a compatible existing phone.

My current personal phone is a $49 refurbished LG Stylo Android phone on the Verizon network through Tracfone that averages $16/mo for my service needs. I haven't found any significant differences in the performance of my phone versus the $1,000 phones some of my friends use...

Edited by Dutch_12078

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7 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

Cell service does not need to be expensive. There are several MVNO cell phone services that have a lot more reasonable costs than the big name carriers. Right now, it's easy to get a $25/mo unlimited talk, text, and data service that uses the Verizon network with phones as low as $19 or free with a trade in. Or use a compatible existing phone.

My current personal phone is a $49 refurbished LG Stylo Android phone on the Verizon network through Tracfone that averages $16/mo for my service needs. I haven't found any significant differences in the performance of my phone versus the $1,000 phones some of my friends use...

I totally agree. We've used TracFones since cell became popular. We now have Samsung Smartphones for under $100 & we can do most everything others do on their expensive phones.  Our service is so cheap that I doubt we'd ever give up TracFones.  If working from the RV I don't know if it would be enough but It's plenty for a normal, non-working person.  

Edited by 2gypsies

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53 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

I totally agree. We've used TracFones since cell became popular. We now have Samsung Smartphones for under $100 & we can do most everything others do on their expensive phones.  Our service is so cheap that I doubt we'd ever give up TracFones.  If working from the RV I don't know if it would be enough but It's plenty for a normal, non-working person.  

With all due respect, you don't need to be working from your RV to want and need a lot more data than the 2-3GB that comes with Tracfone plans.  From what I can see on the Tracfone website it appears to primarily be focused on people who use their phones for voice conversation, rather than data.  Many of us rarely use the phone to talk, but use extensive amounts of data for streaming video and other purposes. 

We've recently discontinued our DirecTV service and are now steaming all our video.  I'm sure we're currently using 200-400GB/mo spread across a couple of unlimited hotspots.   I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with using Tracfone (or similar service providers) if that meets your needs.  I'm simply pointing out that such service can't be equated to that which is provided by most of the plans offered by the major cellular providers.

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12 hours ago, RV_ said:

But all the competition they need are the current Verizon, ATT, etc. Cell companies. They go cheaper or die out. And Musk will be competing with them too. We live in interesting, exciting times.

People who complain about cell phone pricing and data limits often fail to take advantage of the bargains that come and go.  I happened to miss the AT&T Mobley plan, but I do have an unlimited prepaid Verizon hotspot plan and an unlimited AT&T hotspot provided by OTR Mobile. My Verizon hotspot is no longer offered, but the new "Visible by Verizon" has many of the same features and is also unlimited. All the plans I've noted are priced at <$60/mo.  

Sure, competition from LEO satellite service will force prices down but so will the ever-expanding terrestrial network.  Next month T-Mobile will begin broadcasting on the 600MHz band and is offering a form of "low frequency 5G".  It appears that one of the new markets they are targeting is fixed location rural service which will put it in direct competition with the many WISPs who operate in those areas.  They are bandying around a price of ~$50/mo for residential service, and I, for one, am eager to see when they will provide it where our winter site it located.

I recall that in 1993 when we lived in ABQ and one of my sons had to drive to NMSU in Las Cruces, I got him a "bag phone" and a $20/mo plan that, as I recall, had something like 10-15 minutes of analog service per month included in the price. Enough to provide him an emergency contact capability and not much more.  As they say..."we've come a long way, baby!"

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1 hour ago, docj said:

With all due respect, you don't need to be working from your RV to want and need a lot more data than the 2-3GB that comes with Tracfone plans.  From what I can see on the Tracfone website it appears to primarily be focused on people who use their phones for voice conversation, rather than data.  Many of us rarely use the phone to talk, but use extensive amounts of data for streaming video and other purposes. 

We've recently discontinued our DirecTV service and are now steaming all our video.  I'm sure we're currently using 200-400GB/mo spread across a couple of unlimited hotspots.   I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with using Tracfone (or similar service providers) if that meets your needs.  I'm simply pointing out that such service can't be equated to that which is provided by most of the plans offered by the major cellular providers.

I agree Tracfone's data allowances are pretty meager, although it's easy to add more at $10/GB. We use texting more than voice for much of our communications, and those allowances are more generous. We also have our Mobley SIM in a Netgear Explore hotspot for low cost unlimited AT&T data, and a Visible phone tethered to a Pepwave router for low cost unlimited Verizon data. Our primary streaming hardware is our FireTVsticks rather than our phones though. When we do stream with our phones, it's usually through a WiFi connection to the unlimited services. Our monthly unlimited data usage is usually 150-200 GB.

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Awesome Dutch and Joel, and it's only going to get better. The Telcos had a monopoly on Internet access when it was all dial-up essentially and they choked on spending for fiber installs in the 90s, essentially letting the Cable vendors take $Billions$ away from them. That was1998-2003. The Telcos answer, in a world then of much higher speed cable Internet access, was DSL. Big flop over time. Now they focus on wireless, but they have to have millions of towers to cover the world. I think in ten years they will have lost again from short-sightedness of their leadership without vision. I think RVrs will have broadband anywhere soon. It remains to see if it is competitive.

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On 11/15/2019 at 7:05 AM, NealC said:

Remember what we paid for a phone in the house back in the '70's? Sucks we are paying that if not 2x and 3x (people with kids, etc.) for monthly phone costs!

I paid around $250/mo with no data, no texting, just some phone calls.  My phone cost $900, the battery was good for maybe 8 hours, and all it did was make and get calls.  I had a stiff belt to hold the holster I carried it in.  Today you can get that plus text and some internet with a $40 phone from the convenience store, and a $20/mo cell plan.  The battery lasts three days, and the phone fits in a shirt pocket.

I'm thinking you didn't actually live through the 90s.

I was the second non-employee customer of Sprint PCS when they launched.  The phone cost several hundred, and the service was "only" $75/mo for 1500 minutes, text only barely worked, and no data/internet without huge efforts.

For me the real advantage to satellite is the reach for places in the West that have little to no cell service.  We're constantly in places where cell either doesn't work, or you just get 50k or something unusable like that.

 

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