Zulu Posted November 17, 2019 Report Share Posted November 17, 2019 Since the Starlink broadband Internet is becoming more of a reality every day, I thought I'd create a central thread for Starlink info. First, a comprehensive Reddit site and Starlink Constellation Visualization. Second, info from the Starlink Reddit Wiki . . . What are the milestones that need to happen before I can sign up? Software must be written to handle communications between the user and the satellite, a satellite and another satellite, controls to maintain a constellation of 12,000 satellites in orbit in real time, collision detection and control, de-orbit operations, security, and everything else Hardware needs to be finalized including the antenna, satellite and payload adapter/deployment Factory needs to be setup to mass produce the satellites, think Tesla model 3 production problems SpaceX needs to launch at least 360 satellites (6 launches not counting May 2019 demo launch) into orbit to start offering service in latitudes around 53º (the Northern US, Southern Canada, etc) 12 launches are needed to provide service across the contiguous US and other countries in similar north and south latitudes 24 launches are needed to cover all Earth population that lives between 57º south and north latitudes 5-8 more launches are needed to cover latitudes greater than 57º The above timeline is based on the approved orbital parameters and public information as of August 2019. If the proposed modification is approved Starlink can provide the contiguous US coverage after 8 launches and global coverage after 24. Will there be service in my country/city/province/region/territory/zone/dimension/area? The satellites will cover the entire world. However actually getting access will require an agreement with your countries government. Some governments are not keen on the idea of their people accessing unfiltered internet (think China) others don't care. SpaceX is focused to offer service in the United States and Canada first. In countries where SpaceX can, they are likely to sell directly to consumers, according to SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell. Outside the United States, SpaceX is working nation by nation to get authorization to offer the service. “Every country has its own process,” said Shotwell. What are some of the geopolitical issues Starlink will need to deal with? Some countries want tight controls over the Internet. In theory all you need to get unfiltered access anywhere in the world is an antenna and an account. SpaceX plans to work with governments on a case by case basis to provide service. Elon on the issue: "From our standpoint we could conceivably continue to broadcast and they'd have a choice of either shooting our satellites down.. or not. China can do that. So we probably shouldn't broadcast there. If they get upset with us, they can blow our satellites up. I mean, I'm hopeful that we can structure agreements with various countries to allow communication with their citizens but it is on a country by country basis. I don't think it's something that would affect the time line. At least, it's not going to take longer than five years to do that. Not all countries will agree at first. There will always be some countries that don't agree. That's fine." Can I replace my cell phone? No. It is not meant to replace your cell phone service because of the antenna required. What kind of antenna does it use? It will use a flat phased array antenna about the size of a medium pizza box according to Elon (0.48 m or 19 inches in diameter according to SpaceX's filing). Described by Elon as the most advanced phased array antenna in the world, including military. You will needs line of sight to the open sky, mounted on your roof or anywhere outside. The antenna handles both upload and downloads and is capable of gigabit speeds. What the heck is a phased array antenna? Think of it like a bunch of small antennas working together so they can point the signal in a specific direction. This would allow the signal to track the satellite as it passes overhead and then switch to the next one when the first is out of range. Can I mount one on my car for internet access on the road? Yes, you should be able to mount the antenna on a car, RV, boat, plane, train, or any other vehicle as long as it is pointed to the open sky. It would not work in your garage, a covered parking lot or in a tunnel. What kind of speeds can be expected for the average user? Unknown. Nothing has been announced at this early stage. SpaceX demonstrated 610 Mbps provided in flight to the cockpit of a military aircraft. SpaceX mentioned gigabit speeds in very early design stages. What kind of latency is expected? Isn't satellite Internet latency very high? Elon: "Aiming for sub 20ms latency initially, sub 10ms over time, with much greater consistency than terrestrial links, as only ever a few hops to major data centers." The existing satellite Internet service is provided by geostationary satellites orbiting at 35,786 km (22,236 miles). At such a high altitude signal propagates at least for 477 ms through space (if user is at the equator, longer at higher latitudes). First Starlink satellites will be orbiting much lower at 550 km (342 miles) making significantly lower latency possible. Finally, some observations . . . To me Starlink is the original HughesNet on steroids. That is, it looks like Starlink will use Ku-band frequencies (just like the original HughesNet) to communicate between satellite and user terminal. However, that's pretty much where the similarity ends as Starlink will have very short latencies, incredible speeds, and, hopefully, push button terminal-to-satellite connection. On the other hand, you will need a clear LOS (Line Of Sight) from your terminal to the satellites. So if you're camped in the woods, it ain't gonna work. You may want to hang onto a cell data plan for those times. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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