Author Topic: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?  (Read 39152 times)

Offline AncientU

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In 2016, Satellite-related business globally was a $260.5B industry.
Launch services constituted 2% ($5.5B), satellite manufacturing 5% ($13.9B), and the rest was satellite operations, approximately 93% ($241.1B) per SIA annual report.

http://www.sia.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/SIA-SSIR-2017.pdf

We've spent great efforts analyzing launch services, much less time discussing the satellites themselves and their manufacture, and almost no time on the elephant in the room, satellite operations and services.

docmordrid provided a complete and concise tabulation of the services (business plan of sorts) intended for the SpaceX Starlink constellation:

With net neutrality on the chopping block, Comcast and co need a real competitor more than ever. If Musk's service can compete in price and speed and provide a ethical internet service, he might take most if not all of their customers.
Or they become the back haul for Comcast and co instead.

Do we really have any strong sense of exactly what their business model is? There seem to be mixed messages about this.

From the trademark page

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4808:gommzk.3.7

Quote
IC 038. US 100 101 104. G & S: Satellite communication and transmission services; wireless broadband communication services; transmission of data, voice and video via satellite; interactive satellite communication services; delivery of messages by electronic transmission; providing telecommunications connections to the Internet; telecommunications gateway services; providing high-speed wireless internet access; providing multiple-user access to the internet, global computer networks, and electronic communications networks; providing access to global information networks; telecommunications services via satellite; providing a website featuring information in the field of satellite communications; providing a website featuring information in the field of internet access via satellite; providing access to electronic databases and online information for use in retrieving satellite data, recordings, and measurements; satellite photography services

IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Research and development services in the field of satellite communications; consulting services in the field of satellite communications; engineering services in the field of satellite communications; scientific and technological services, namely, research, analysis, and monitoring of data captured via remote sensors and satellites; remote sensing services, namely, aerial surveying through the use of satellites

Standard Characters Claimed   
Mark Drawing Code   (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number   87576978
Filing Date   August 21, 2017
Current Basis   1B;44D
Original Filing Basis   1B;44D
Owner   (APPLICANT) Space Exploration Technologies Corp. CORPORATION DELAWARE 1 Rocket Road Hawthorne CALIFORNIA 90250
Attorney of Record   Brendan J. Hughes
Priority Date   February 24, 2017
Type of Mark   SERVICE MARK
Register   PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator   LIVE
bold mine

The listing appears to encompass a quite a bit broader range of services than discussed so far related to the revenue potential of the constellation.  Since this will be the revenue source for getting to Mars, we should investigate more thoroughly these services and their impacts.
« Last Edit: 11/22/2017 01:30 PM by AncientU »
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Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #1 on: 11/22/2017 12:37 PM »
In 2016, Satellite-related business globally was a $260.5M industry.
...
Don't you mean Billion$?

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #2 on: 11/22/2017 01:29 PM »
In 2016, Satellite-related business globally was a $260.5M industry.
...
Don't you mean Billion$?

OOPs...
thanks -- fixing original post.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Semmel

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #3 on: 11/22/2017 02:10 PM »
I have seen this list month ago on this forum. I am not sure why it comes as a surprise now. I think it was discussed when the starlink name appeared for the first time. Did something change since then? I thought it is common knowledge what SpaceX plans to do with starlink.

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #4 on: 11/22/2017 05:09 PM »
I have seen this list month ago on this forum. I am not sure why it comes as a surprise now. I think it was discussed when the starlink name appeared for the first time. Did something change since then? I thought it is common knowledge what SpaceX plans to do with starlink.

Not so common... I spend a lot of time lurking and missed this... and it would seem I'm not the only one...
if you have a link to that discussion, it might be useful for others to go over, it would help inform the discussion
here...

Personally I'm floored by the scope of the operations... this takes convergence to new heights... pun intended...I can see in 10-30 years that this could be as disruptive as electricity was to the Steam Economy of the late 19th century...

just more so... with all of the advances coming that could converge with it... and Starlink will be the precursor, holding a monopoly world wide, with it's ease of low cost replacement and evolving satellite technologies...

what will be the impact on economies of the new technology and information? Will businesses that are giants now, go down... what government regulations will be tried to impact or break up the monopoly... what sort of work force will be required to build, replace and operate all facets of operation... how will connectivity and I/O technology evolve in that time frame... how will it affect society, cultural norms, our understanding of what it means to be human...

of course I don't have concrete answers, but I know these questions will be asked and answered... unless there is a concerted effort by existing players, to prevent this evolving... but will it be as useless as those who tried to prevent the emerging technologies of the 20th century... is Elon really an evil scientist bent on world (Solar System) domination...(tongue in cheek) something to watch...
"Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but it has not solved one yet." Maya Angelou
 Tony Benn: "Hope is the fuel of progress and fear is the prison in which you put yourself."

Online Kosmos2001

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #5 on: 11/22/2017 05:20 PM »
From the report, it is interesting to notice that the main revenue of all that business is Satellite TV with 37.5% ($97.7B) followed by GNSS consumer equipment with 32.3% ($84.6B). Together they make an outstanding ~70% of all the space business cake. In comparison, launch services is only the 2.1% ($5.5B), close to Satellite Radio 1.9% ($5.0B).

Online billh

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #6 on: 11/22/2017 06:06 PM »
Personally I'm floored by the scope of the operations... this takes convergence to new heights... pun intended...I can see in 10-30 years that this could be as disruptive as electricity was to the Steam Economy of the late 19th century...
I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding of the function of a trademark application is to claim as broad a scope as possible to avoid anyone else using your mark in a related field. So we should read this as a list of Starlink-related businesses SpaceX might conceivably want to pursue, not as a business plan.

Online speedevil

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #7 on: 11/22/2017 07:36 PM »
I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding of the function of a trademark application is to claim as broad a scope as possible to avoid anyone else using your mark in a related field. So we should read this as a list of Starlink-related businesses SpaceX might conceivably want to pursue, not as a business plan.
https://www.chinatrademarkoffice.com/index.php?c=tdsearch&mark=starlink&IntCls=&ln=&per_page=

I can find no relevant starlink trademarks.
They really should be doing this now, or it gets considerably harder to defend the mark in china.
Perhaps I am misusing the search engine though.

Offline cppetrie

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #8 on: 11/22/2017 08:46 PM »
I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding of the function of a trademark application is to claim as broad a scope as possible to avoid anyone else using your mark in a related field. So we should read this as a list of Starlink-related businesses SpaceX might conceivably want to pursue, not as a business plan.
https://www.chinatrademarkoffice.com/index.php?c=tdsearch&mark=starlink&IntCls=&ln=&per_page=

I can find no relevant starlink trademarks.
They really should be doing this now, or it gets considerably harder to defend the mark in china.
Perhaps I am misusing the search engine though.
See

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4808:aio2yt.2.8

And

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4808:aio2yt.2.7

Offline Jcc

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #9 on: 11/23/2017 02:46 AM »
The last service mentioned is a surprise: Satellite Photography Services. Don't recall mention of putting an image sensor and telescope on board, but if Planet can do it with a few hundred 3x cube sats, why not add it to 12000 small sats ( full constellation ).

Offline Semmel

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #10 on: 11/23/2017 07:17 AM »
I have seen this list month ago on this forum. I am not sure why it comes as a surprise now. I think it was discussed when the starlink name appeared for the first time. Did something change since then? I thought it is common knowledge what SpaceX plans to do with starlink.

Not so common... I spend a lot of time lurking and missed this... and it would seem I'm not the only one...
if you have a link to that discussion, it might be useful for others to go over, it would help inform the discussion
here...


Its hard to find past information in this forum. I tried my best google fu and found the earliest mentioning of Starlink here:

SpaceX trademark filings to name their constellation STARLINK were updated with new information on 21 August 2017. Of particularly note is the mention of "satellites for scientific and commercial purposes" and "satellite photography services", possibly suggesting that SpaceX is considering a multipurpose LEO constellation. https://www.trademarkia.com/company-space-exploration-technologies-corp-1140826-page-1-2

Can also be found through the US Patent Office's Trademark Electronic Search System, but wow is that thing outdated...

Full disclosure: /u/Ronsmytheii's post on this disappeared, I was already planning on mentioning this new info.

There was quite a bit more background info at the time though. Maybe I saw the trademark list on an external site which was linked here. At least it names specifically "satellite photography services" So the information was there, probably on the disappeared reddit post.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #11 on: 11/23/2017 08:05 AM »
What are the chance that Starlink will be offering banking & cryptocurrency services? Since Musk have reacquired his old x.com domain from Paypal.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #12 on: 11/23/2017 11:41 AM »
From the report, it is interesting to notice that the main revenue of all that business is Satellite TV with 37.5% ($97.7B) followed by GNSS consumer equipment with 32.3% ($84.6B). Together they make an outstanding ~70% of all the space business cake. In comparison, launch services is only the 2.1% ($5.5B), close to Satellite Radio 1.9% ($5.0B).

That's the key... broadband communications are only a tiny fraction of satellite operations (2% or so), yet internet is a Trillion dollar business.  Today the customer of satellite operations is sitting at home watching Game of Thrones on HBO (I'm guilty, though I do it via wifi).  Tomorrow, we will be having this discussion via satellite, and finally (hopefully) be free of the local gouging and crappy service of local internet monopolies like Comcast. 

5th Generation wifi globally...

And then there are the autonomous vehicle applications, the continuous imaging of any/all spots on Earth, satellite-to-satellite communications, laser long haul, ...  The mind boggles.


BTW Semmel, I was one of those who missed the tabulation in OP and I'm sure there are others.  I suggest using this threadfor operations and business case/competition discussions, while the manufacturing thread concentrates more on the fabrication, testing, launch activities. 

Mods:  Please merge this thread if deemed better than a separate operations-focussed discussion.
« Last Edit: 11/23/2017 11:42 AM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Online speedevil

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #13 on: 11/23/2017 11:56 AM »
What are the chance that Starlink will be offering banking & cryptocurrency services? Since Musk have reacquired his old x.com domain from Paypal.

With the currency being SLGs?
(In the next book by the author of the Martian, the unit of currency in the moon colony is effectively one soft-landed gram on the moon.)

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #14 on: 11/23/2017 11:57 AM »
The last service mentioned is a surprise: Satellite Photography Services. Don't recall mention of putting an image sensor and telescope on board, but if Planet can do it with a few hundred 3x cube sats, why not add it to 12000 small sats ( full constellation ).

There's more:
Quote
scientific and technological services, namely, research, analysis, and monitoring of data captured via remote sensors and satellites; remote sensing services, namely, aerial surveying through the use of satellites

This goes well beyond imaging/photography.  Coverage of the planet is potentially continuous, everywhere.  12,000 sats spread over 4*Pi* steradians (~40,000 square degrees) is more than a satellite per each 2x2degree square of the sky (simplifying, of course, since there will be overlap areas around 50-55degrees latitude, geometrical considerations, etc.).  If each imager/sensor has at least a 4 sq. degree footprint, coverage will be continuous.  And the bulk of the sats are (planned to be) only a few hundred km above the ground.

I can see DoD buying a 'subscription' or two, maybe NOAO, Nat'l Weather Service, etc. -- and DoD might be a bit more than interested in anywhere broadband comms, too.

Could negate the need for many expensive USG payloads methinks.
« Last Edit: 11/23/2017 12:14 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #15 on: 11/23/2017 12:27 PM »
>
This goes well beyond imaging/photography.  Coverage of the planet is potentially continuous, everywhere.  12,000 sats spread over 4*Pi* steradians (~40,000 square degrees) is more than a satellite per each 2x2degree square of the sky (simplifying, of course, since there will be overlap areas around 50-55degrees latitude, geometrical considerations, etc.).  If each imager/sensor has at least a 4 sq. degree footprint, coverage will be continuous.  And the bulk of the sats are (planned to be) only a few hundred km above the ground.

I can see DoD buying a 'subscription' or two, maybe NOAO, Nat'l Weather Service, etc. -- and DoD might be a bit more than interested in anywhere broadband comms, too.

Could negate the need for many expensive USG payloads methinks.

Which brings up STRATCOM General Hyten's recent statements

SpaceNews...

Quote
"And, as a combatant commander, I won’t support the development any further of large, big, fat, juicy targets. I won’t support that,” he insisted. “We are going to go down a different path. And we have to go down that path quickly."
« Last Edit: 11/23/2017 12:32 PM by docmordrid »
DM

Offline AncientU

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #16 on: 11/23/2017 12:30 PM »
Machine-to-machine (thing-to-thing) connections to the internet are predicted to reach five times the world population in mid-2020s.  Still growing exponentially, while population is leveling off (predicted to peak around 10B by 2050).  Not sure if that includes autonomous personal vehicles.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Online Dave G

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #17 on: 11/23/2017 04:31 PM »
From the report, it is interesting to notice that the main revenue of all that business is Satellite TV with 37.5% ($97.7B) ...

Yes, but within the next few years TV content will be delivered increasingly over the internet (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.).

Offline Semmel

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #18 on: 11/23/2017 08:20 PM »
BTW Semmel, I was one of those who missed the tabulation in OP and I'm sure there are others.  I suggest using this thread for operations and business case/competition discussions, while the manufacturing thread concentrates more on the fabrication, testing, launch activities. 

Thats all right of course. I was just genuinely surprised because I stored this info as important and public and didnt really conceive that other active people here might have missed it.

And as you rightfully say, it has a lot of applications if it has an imaging device. But continuous imaging from everywhere.. wow thats a lot of data if it is in any reasonable resolution. If you have one pixel per square arc minute (thats one 1.85x1.85 square km) on earth surface. The land mass of Earth has about 510 million square km. If you take continuous data from all of that, it takes about 250 MB per frame. And thats with a resolution of one square mile (note the imperial units. You are welcome ;-) ). That sounds reasonable to store as a continuous observation. Maybe good for weather. Lets say other applications would be traffic monitoring. There you need meter type resolution. Most of earth surface does not have streets, no idea how much data that would be. But clouds make this application rather uninteresting for most places on earth. Not sure about other uses other than military or for suppression type political structures to monitor the movement of its subjects.

Offline gosnold

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Re: SpaceX - now a satellite (constellation) operator?
« Reply #19 on: 11/25/2017 09:19 AM »
Counting cars in parking lots and monitoring commercial activity in general has value for financial companies. There are several companies, such as Orbital Insights, that sell that kind of data and there is a market for it.

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