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US FCC OK's SpaceX 11,000+ Comms Satellite Network

SpaceX gets Approval to Deploy 11,943 Low Earth Orbit Broadband Satellites

     
11:51 am on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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FCC tells SpaceX it can deploy up to 11,943 broadband satellites
"SpaceX's initial 4,425 satellites are expected to orbit at altitudes of 1,110km to 1,325km, a fraction of the altitude of traditional broadband satellites. Because of the low orbits, SpaceX says its broadband network will have latencies as low as 25ms, similar to cable or fiber systems. SpaceX has also said it will provide gigabit speeds and that it will provide broadband access worldwide."
- [arstechnica.com ]

Go Elon Go!
11:30 pm on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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SkyNet!
6:12 am on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Bring it on. :)

I understand that people who have access to several choices for their internet connection might not see what's the big deal. But for many people they are nearly shut out of real internet usage due to remote or rural locations. There just is not any choice for many locations and little interest in serving those last-mile customers.
8:13 am on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The US FCC gave their authorization but what about other national agencies? I mean, I doubt that these satellites will stay on low orbit only over the USA.
11:54 am on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think they need FCC permission to make it legal for people in the US to use it. Galileo needed FCC permission for the same reason - not to put their satellites up, but for Americans to be able to use the system.
11:58 am on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think they need FCC permission...

Yes, I had asked a mod to delete my message, when I realized I misunderstood, but I guess no one is awake yet :)
12:33 pm on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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justpassing... that's actually kind of a complicated but fascinating question, and these low, small satellites may perhaps present some challenges to current space law, which I gather from some quick reading is still pretty unsettled. IANAL, and I'm definitely not a space lawyer. It's a relatively new field, less settled than the laws of the sea.

I'm picking some points in several artlcles to form a thread of things needing to be resolved. These new low satellites will indeed present some questions that need to be resolved...

Space law
[en.wikipedia.org...]
International lawyers have been unable to agree on a uniform definition of the term "outer space", although most lawyers agree that outer space generally begins at the lowest altitude above sea level at which objects can orbit the Earth, approximately 122 km


From the arstechnica article, it seems that the initial Space-X satellites will be roughly 10-times higher than this 122 km figure...

FCC tells SpaceX it can deploy up to 11,943 broadband satellites
Initial launch of 4,425 satellites to be followed by 7,518 closer to the ground
[arstechnica.com...]
SpaceX's initial 4,425 satellites are expected to orbit at altitudes of 1,110km to 1,325km, a fraction of the altitude of traditional broadband satellites.


But from this article, not all of the "space rights" above a country are consistent. Agreement is yet to be reached....

Space treaties are a challenge to launching small satellites in orbit
April 16, 2015
[theconversation.com...]
The challenge for our policy makers is to lead the world in reforming the domestic rules to strike a fair balance between protecting the public purse and controlling the risk of collisions in space.

One possibility being promoted by the entrepreneurs is an exemption for small satellite operators from some of the insurance and financial responsibility obligations that currently apply under Australian law.

I'm sure the satellites will maintain a consistent altitude above different international borders. Not at all clear, if you read the whole article, what the solutions might be. Space debris, mentioned the arstechnica article, seem to be a concern in the Australian article as well.

I'm assuming that all these international agencies are in regular communication with each other.


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4:16 pm on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I doubt that these satellites will stay on low orbit only over the USA
:: mental picture of satellites going round and round in circling-the-drain pattern, which is still a great improvement over satellite internet as we currently know it ::
1:27 pm on Nov 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In space no one can hear you scream "competition"!

OneWeb has heavyweight tech execs from Qualcom, Virgin, Airbus and others on it's board and has plans to deploy 900 satellites into low earth orbit.

"OneWeb’s constellation of satellites will logically interlock with each other to create a coverage footprint over the entire planet."
- [oneweb.world ]
1:58 pm on Nov 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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"competition" "competition" ..........
Regarding the space race between SpaceX and OneWeb...

The space race is over and SpaceX won
By Robert X. Cringely - Published 7 months ago
[betanews.com...]

...The article makes a convincing case that SpaceX/ Starlink is way ahead of the competition, which is OneWeb, but OneWeb does have a future....
...while OneWeb may thrive offering Internet service where there presently is none (third world countries and rural areas of first world countries) Starlink seems to want to compete head-to-head against the Verizons and Comcasts of the world....

....It is going to be near impossible to compete with such a SpaceX system if you can’t match SpaceX scale -- a scale that will be driven primarily by Starlink (that is internal) demand.

The FCC is very unlikely to approve another constellation on the scale of Starlink, so for the next six years SpaceX will be protected from big competitors.

3:14 am on Nov 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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re: space race between SpaceX and OneWeb
-Robert Charlton


Nice find, good article..

When I first heard about StarLink I thought "satellite phones for all", (the train of thought continued to "I don't think I want something in my pocket that can send and receive microwave 750 miles into space")... but that was just the first 2-3 seconds I was thinking about all this...

I think it will be more like a backbone with"the Verizons and Comcasts" still operating pretty much the same way they do now for the next 10-20 years.

It does open up the possibility of combination Feed & Grain Store / Local ISP / Tesla Recharging Station in the middle of cattle country and serve all the "Tesla Truckers" -- and farmers with [cowcams.com ]

See also: [instinct.org ]