SpaceX sends 60 Starlink broadband satellites into a different orbit

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SpaceX launched 60 more satellites for its Starlink internet broadband constellation on a Falcon 9 rocket today, bringing the total count to 300.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/watch-spacex-send-60-starlink-141400479.html

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wm4bama, Champion

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Posted 3 months ago

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Voyager

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Only 11,700 to go.
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Homeskillet

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Musk said the Starlink network would be able to provide "minor" internet coverage after 400 spacecraft were up and running, and "moderate" coverage after about 800 satellites became operational.

I wonder what the definitions of "minor" and "moderate" are?
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Voyager

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Your guess is as good as mine. I suspect that initially only a few select commercial customers will be offered service. That allows them to get some decent revenue with relatively small support needs as you have when you need to deal with tens of thousands of small customers vs a few hundred large companies. I will be surprised if we see broad residential service before 2025.
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Admiral Korbohuta

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I read they could start service in the northern US and Canada with as few as 800 satellites, so maybe that's the "moderate" number.
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ExSatUser

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Some of the comments on that article are pretty good. One says they just need 3 or 4 versus hundreds of these little ones. Wait. Was that a Viasat or Hughesnet engineer that posted that :)?
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Voyager

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I can say the same. Viasat currently far outperforms my wireless service and generally outperforms DSL. I have no access to cable or fiber ... yet.
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Homeskillet

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Have you found the area of strongest signal in the house with the hotspot? Even moving it a couple feet can make a huge difference. Signal strength greatly effects speed on mine.
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Voyager

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No hotspot, just direct connection from ipad and iphone. The best signal is outside on my deck as the coated windows and log walls block a lot of the signal when inside. I would have to add an outside directional antenna to get a usable signal for serious data work and it just isn’t worth the hassle for me.
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Homeskillet

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Supposedly the hotspots have a much stronger antenna than a phone. The signal on my phone will bounce up and down even without moving it. The signal on the hotspot stays steady if left in the same place.
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Voyager

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That’s marketing. Cellular antennas are inherently small given the frequencies they use and once you get to resonant size with an omnidirectional antenna, you can’t make it “stronger.” Since a Jetpack isn’t much larger than a cell phone and the length of a resonant dipole at cell frequencies is 7” or less, I doubt if the Jetpack antenna is significantly better than an iPad which is even larger.

The only way to increase the received signal strength is to make the antenna directional such that it has higher gain in one direction at the sacrifice of other directions. That is the route I would have to take to get significantly better reception. I borrowed a Jetpack to try at home and it did not perform significantly better than my iPad and iPhone. As long as the really bad nights like last night are fairly infrequent (this is the first bad night since probably Christmas), it isn’t worth the expense and effort, particularly when fiber is on the horizon. We have our official ribbon cutting ceremony this Friday.
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ExSatUser

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The main issue with the strategy Viasat and Hughesnet follow as they can never get ahead of the curve. By the time their satellites are deployed, tested, and up and running, they are already obsolete to meet the data needs of the consumer. Will only get worse as consumer data usage continues to explode. Apple and Disney TV? That didnt exist a year ago, but it does now. Viasat-1 and 2? They are still the same.
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Voyager

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Yes, almost exactly the scenario that killed the mainframe computer.

The difference is that IBM got into PCs and small servers before they became extinct. Viasat and Hughes show no such response at present.
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ExSatUser

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There are definitely parallels. Telcos saw the impending threat of cable companies, but there was nothing they could do about it. Aged, copper landlines will become a relic of the past (see the telegraph).

IDK if LEO satellites for internet is the answer, but something will come along sooner or later.
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Voyager

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I think the Telcos were doing something about it. Corning Incorporated is generally recognized as the developer of optical fiber, at least in the sense of making it practical to manufacture, but I believe that Bel Labs and Western Electric were right there in the race. The issue the telcos had was regulation. It is hard for a regulated utility to be innovation. I understand the need to not allow monopolies to run unbridled, but often the regulation is worse than the problem it is meant to solve. I believe that is true in the US in the utility industries. That is why solar was so slow to deploy and why you don't see electric companies deploying communication systems even thought they have the ideal infrastructure for “wired” technologies like optical fiber.
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Voyager

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I don’t think LEOs are THE answer, but I think they are an answer. I think they will be a good alternative for rural areas and I suspect, especially in mountainous areas such as where I live, they will be one of the best alternatives. Fixed wireless is very challenging in the mountains of northern PA and it many other similar areas. Coming more nearly straight down, as will be the case with a fully populated LEO constellation, holds the best promise for mountainous areas . I am hopeful that the LEO folks succeed, but I remain skeptical until I see at least 100,000 happy users.
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