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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Bradley

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What’s always puzzle me about Viasat and Hughesnet is the staggering slow speed at which they add satellites. There is obviously a market for bandwidth or all these powerful companies wouldn’t be racing to fill the skies.

Launching rockets every other week now seems the norm. Viasat will have something ready in a few years.

I get the satellites are designed differently. I don’t get that regardless of cost, the return doesn’t happen till the bird is functioning in the sky.

So sat internet customers should be excited. Heck we heard about Viasat 2 for years only to have a partly failed deployment. Sorry folks. We’ll have something else ready to go in around three more years.
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GabeU, Champion

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It's all about cost and profitability, including future profitability.  It's not worth it for them to spend more than they have to, and spending too much on new sats could, and very likely would, backfire.  It's a balance.  
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Bradley

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SpaceX, OneWeb, and Amazon don’t generally do bad business decisions. Sometimes SpaceX will
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Voyager

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I think it is like the old IBM and UNIVAC mainframes vs. microcomputers. The mainframe cost a fortune so you needed to add them slowly and really have a need built up in advance or else you had a huge underutilized asset. With personal computers, they were cheap so you could add capacity in small increments matching the demand. Same with big GEO vs small LEO satellites.

The unfortunate part is that Viasat and Hughes could have led the way in LEO given their experience and asset base, but like GM with the EV1, they sat on their laurels and let upstarts eat their lunch. Just as Tesla is doing to GM and other large, established auto companies, I suspect that Starlink will do to Viasat ad Hughesnet. It basically comes down to company leadership that lacks vision and innovation. I have seem this in spades since retiring from a company know for innovation and getting on the board of a few electric companies. The culture is night and day different.
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Voyager

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As long as Starlink doesn’t have ridiculously low data limits or speeds like what I am seeing right now, they should do well.
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Bradley

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Surprised the speed test didn’t time out.
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Admiral Korbohuta

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SpaceX has managed to reduce the cost of everything dramatically. Plus, reusable rockets changed the whole ballgame.
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Voyager

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Subsequent tests have timed out. This is the worst performance I have seen i several weeks. Not sure what is going on, but it fell off the cliff about 4 PM and has yet to recover.
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Voyager

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It is not clear to me that SpaceX really has reduced the cost all that much. I think that remains to be seen.
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Bradley

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Lol. PM congestion if you call. Press it hard enough and you’ll be asked if you want a service visit to check setup for a fee.

This is what PM congestion looks like on cable.

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Voyager

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Like the one I just tried.
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Voyager

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I would open the links if my internet connection was fast enough to do so! LOL.
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Bradley

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Lol. I feel your pain brother. Been there done that.

Go Elon go!
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Admiral Korbohuta

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@Voyager. You're out of priority data with Viasat right? Don't you have Verizon as a backup?
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Bradley

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Unlimited at its finest loosely defined meaning.
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Voyager

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@Admiral Those articles are 4-5 years old and based almost entirely on claims by SpaceX and not on any real financial data. Lots of startups charge less to early customers who are willing to take on more risk. However, what is charged often bears no resemblance to what the actual costs of service are. And many startups lose so much with these early teaser prices that they never become a real business. hopefully, SpaceX doesn’t suffer that fate, but the financials, as best they can be determined given that SpaceX is not public and thus does not publish audited financial reports as far as I know, were not that pretty as recently as 2017 when this article was written. Until I see financial data that shows they can be profitable charging lower launch fees than everyone else, I will remain skeptical.

https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/0...
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Voyager

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I am almost always out of data with Viasat. My data lasts about 3 days each month. However, for the last several weeks, I have seen speeds in the 1-2 Mbps range on Liberty pass and that is passable and within what Viasat publishes as the expected range (1-5 Mbps when I signed up a year ago). I generally don’t complain until they drop below 1, and tonight has been below 1 for several hours now. The really odd part is that the uplink shows 0 quite often and that is really rare so I suspect they are having server problems and not simply satellite congestion.

Yes, Verizon is a backup, but it is almost always in the 0.2 to 0.5 Mbps range so it truly is only a last resort backup.
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Admiral Korbohuta

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@Voyager. Thought you had better speeds with Verizon. My speeds at home with Verizon, even with a signal booster, max out at around 0.5Mbps on a good day. Barely usable.
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Voyager

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Nope, I don’t have line of sight to the cell tower and being on a fringe of the signal is not good for performance.
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ExSatUser

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All depends on the tower, its load, time of day, etc. One year on Verizon. Overall has outperformed satellite internet.

I would give you a speed test now, but testmy.net wants to run a 90Mb test file through for an accurate test. Not worth the data for that!

I don't have line of sight either, but delivers enough for my needs.
(Edited)
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Admiral Korbohuta

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Viasat outperforms everything else in my area. Pretty sad.
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Voyager

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I could not even get a Speedtest to run on Verizon last night. It was a good night to catch up on some reading though, the old-fashioned book style. LOL. Things back to normal this morning, actually much better than is normal.
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Voyager

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And this is Verizon this morning. LOL.
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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.
(Edited)
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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.
(Edited)
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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.
(Edited)