Author Topic: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation  (Read 162604 times)

Offline meekGee

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #20 on: 04/05/2019 03:37 am »
Maybe I'm behind the times but I remember 45,000 kg per launch, so yeah, 90 at most.  Less the launch mount, which is not negligible.  You're also constrained by orbital planes, so OOM, you're delivering one orbital plane per launch, give or take.

I was previously under this misconception, but nodal precession makes the 1 orbital plane per launch not a hard limit.

Quote
Nodal precession is the precession of the orbital plane of a satellite around the rotational axis of an astronomical body such as Earth. This precession is due to the non-spherical nature of a rotating body, which creates a non-uniform gravitational field. The following discussion relates to low Earth orbit of artificial satellites, which have no measurable effect on the motion of Earth. The nodal precession of more massive, natural satellites like the Moon is more complex.

Around a spherical body, an orbital plane would remain fixed in space around the gravitational primary body. However, most bodies rotate, which causes an equatorial bulge. This bulge creates a gravitational effect that causes orbits to precess around the rotational axis of the primary body.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nodal_precession

We'll see if they use this, but I don't think it'll change the overall picture by much.

The constellation business will become a race. SpaceX has a much more capable launcher (either now, or in 4 years).  This allows them to push a more capable constellation, with lower costs.

OneWeb and Amazon can't compete with that, except for making sure they can capitalize on a potential mistake by SpaceX.

Musk meanwhile is behaving as if his competitors are breathing down his neck.  Good for him.  He probably wants enough gap so that even if he does make a mistake, he has enough margin to correct it in time.

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Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #21 on: 04/05/2019 03:44 am »
At this rate, it wouldn't be surprising for Apple to go deep with Tesla/SpaceX/Starlink to maintain the i-hegemony (iPhone, iTunes, iCloud, iCar), which leaves Google with Android+Waymo and grabbing OneWeb, but who's really left for a RLV for Google to latch on to (Skylon...)?

Google is already an investor in SpaceX and the founders are fans of what SpaceX is doing.  In fact, Google's investment was specifically to help SpaceX fund Starlink.

If Google ties up with one of the satellite constellations, it will be Starlink.

Offline libra

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #22 on: 04/05/2019 04:58 am »
Another ten thousands of satellites in Earth orbit. That peculiar moment in Wall-E is fast becoming reality...


Online catdlr

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #23 on: 04/05/2019 05:09 am »
Another ten thousands of satellites in Earth orbit. That peculiar moment in Wall-E is fast becoming reality...


Another here (forward to after lift-off: 1:20 thru 2:20): 
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« Last Edit: 04/05/2019 05:10 am by catdlr »
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Offline Darkseraph

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #24 on: 04/05/2019 11:02 am »
Amazon has really deep pockets to throw at this and the advantage of direct connection to global data centers. This may scare off investors from putting money into other constellations because it is hard to compete with such deep pockets. There is always the chance Google might invest more in Starlink to compete with this vertically integrated AWS service.

As to how this constellation will launch, I expect Blue Origin to eventually launch the majority of it, but New Glenn is not ready yet and will take many launches to be a safe and reliable vehicle. I expect Amazon to be pragmatic and launch the initial sats on a variety of existing launchers. One Web is already doing this and launch costs are not always the largest fraction of cost to doing any satellite project.

The competition for satellite internet just heated up incredibly and the market might not be able to absorb all these constellations that quickly. Some operators will probably fail and go bankrupt or get bought out. The good news from all this is that competition will drive down broadband prices and the amount of launches needed for thousands of satellites will drives down costs for other users of these launch vehicles. Massive economies of scale. The somewhat bad news is that net neutrality laws in the U.S have been significantly weakened and this may lead over time to a balkanized monopolistic internet. 
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Offline Ultrafamicom

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #25 on: 04/05/2019 11:28 am »

Any of these constellations will be requiring a constant launch cadence.  1/week or more.

Really? 250 kg satellites, 100,000 kg per launch, 400 satellites per launch. 10 launches for deployment. They get replaced every 2.5 months?

edit: even 500 kg satellites, 45,000 kg per launch, 90 satellites per launch, 3236 satellites would be 36 launches or replacing the constellation nearly twice a year at 1 per week.

Maybe I'm behind the times but I remember 45,000 kg per launch, so yeah, 90 at most.  Less the launch mount, which is not negligible.  You're also constrained by orbital planes, so OOM, you're delivering one orbital plane per launch, give or take.

For smaller constellations (like the proposed Amazon one), 20-30 planes?
But for Starlink, 3x as many?  (I don't have the official count)

If lifetime is 3 years, you have to replace 33% of the constellation every year, after a 3-year build-up.
Or, you try to accelerate the build-up by launching even more often.

That's where launch capacity and launch cost will really matter.

Bezos is doing all he can to make sure that if SpaceX slips, he'll be ready to take advantage of it.  But if SpaceX doesn't slip, I think he's going to have a really hard time keeping up.
No.

I think it had been mentioned many times here, that because of precession effect  caused by equatorial bulge, satellite can drift between different planes easily. Even iridium doesn't launch one plane a time.

Offline su27k

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #26 on: 04/05/2019 01:04 pm »
I think it's too early to conclude anything yet. Remember Boeing also has filings for a big constellation, but it's going nowhere. And just because you have more cash than god doesn't mean you can accomplish anything you want, just look at Apple's self driving car project, it's also going nowhere fast.

Offline Lar

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #27 on: 04/05/2019 01:19 pm »
A small difference in the eyes of competitors might be that Amazon has more money than God while SpaceX can't close a $750 million loan.

[[citation needed]]

It is equally possible that SpaceX decided against the offer at the terms quoted because they ended up realising they actually didn't need the money. The SpaceX CFO knows, but we don't.

Tangential point, but I feel that if the latter is true, it makes SpaceX a more formidable competitor rather than less. Merely having shedfuls of money to spend on something doesn't ensure success (cf. SLS).
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Offline meekGee

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #28 on: 04/05/2019 02:36 pm »

Any of these constellations will be requiring a constant launch cadence.  1/week or more.

Really? 250 kg satellites, 100,000 kg per launch, 400 satellites per launch. 10 launches for deployment. They get replaced every 2.5 months?

edit: even 500 kg satellites, 45,000 kg per launch, 90 satellites per launch, 3236 satellites would be 36 launches or replacing the constellation nearly twice a year at 1 per week.

Maybe I'm behind the times but I remember 45,000 kg per launch, so yeah, 90 at most.  Less the launch mount, which is not negligible.  You're also constrained by orbital planes, so OOM, you're delivering one orbital plane per launch, give or take.

For smaller constellations (like the proposed Amazon one), 20-30 planes?
But for Starlink, 3x as many?  (I don't have the official count)

If lifetime is 3 years, you have to replace 33% of the constellation every year, after a 3-year build-up.
Or, you try to accelerate the build-up by launching even more often.

That's where launch capacity and launch cost will really matter.

Bezos is doing all he can to make sure that if SpaceX slips, he'll be ready to take advantage of it.  But if SpaceX doesn't slip, I think he's going to have a really hard time keeping up.
No.

I think it had been mentioned many times here, that because of precession effect  caused by equatorial bulge, satellite can drift between different planes easily. Even iridium doesn't launch one plane a time.

Iridium didn't have much choice, not enough satellites per plane.  Changing planes using precession takes time, and these mega-constellation satellites don't have much lifetime to waste.

I don't know for sure, but it's a safe guess that the preferred method will still be one plane per launch, and any orbital spares similarly in-plane.

The down side will be that you don't get partial coverage when you're partially deployed, so I can see perhaps a compromise where two half-planes are deployed with one launch. Maybe.  Unless the number of satellites is large enough that it takes two launches to get one plane populated anyway, and then the problem is solved.

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Offline meekGee

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #29 on: 04/05/2019 02:44 pm »
This is interesting news. They're far enough behind OneWeb, SpaceX, and Telesat that I wonder if they'll be able to catch up. Definitely gives me another company to talk with about DogTags, MagTags, and our Bulldog servicing vehicle...

That said, I also wonder how this is going to impact the desire of commsat companies to launch on Blue Origin in the future. Now one of the big things going for them relative to SpaceX (that launching on them wasn't funding a competitor) is no longer true.

~Jon

A small difference in the eyes of competitors might be that Amazon has more money than God while SpaceX can't close a $750 million loan. OneWeb signing a large order with SpaceX might mean the difference between having another competitor and not while with Amazon it is nearly a foregone conclusion (at least as far as funding goes). There also is technically a firewall between Amazon and Blue Origin while there is no legal seperation between SpaceX launch services and SpaceX Starlink.

So about the god thing...

Bezos had more money than god when Musk predicted that "Unicorns will dance in the flame trench if Bezos has a man-rated rocket within 5 years".  That date passed quietly last year, and NG is still more than a year away. 

BO is running at a pace matched only by VG, another company that's not exactly strapped for cash.

The obvious conclusion here is that money can't buy you love.

Putting together a competent and effective tech company, and then marrying it to a viable vision in order to create this thing called "progress" takes money, but not infinite amounts of it, and it also takes technological leadership, which is something both these companies lack.

Let me make a prediction here that by the time the Amazon constellation comes to fruition, Starlink 2.0 will be launching, with each satellite competing in mass with today's GEO birds.
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Offline ZachF

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #30 on: 04/05/2019 03:05 pm »
I had been speculating that Amazon/Blue was angling for their own constellation for years.

In a few years SpaceX and Blue might be launching over 90% of the world's mass to orbit.
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Offline ZachF

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #31 on: 04/05/2019 03:25 pm »
I wonder if Blue will build the satellites?

We could be looking at SpaceX and Blue in the not-to-distant future not only drinking the oldspace prime's milkshake on LVs, but satellites as well if they each are building thousands a year and rapidly build up experience bases and economies of scale.
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Offline b0objunior

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #32 on: 04/05/2019 03:27 pm »
I like (not) how every thing goes to SpaceX.

What I'm wondering is why people think Amazon cannot move fast? Do they have a history of being stagnant? I really want to know because they seem to go into markets pretty much as fast has they can go.

Offline ZachF

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #33 on: 04/05/2019 03:29 pm »

A small difference in the eyes of competitors might be that Amazon has more money than God while SpaceX can't close a $750 million loan. OneWeb signing a large order with SpaceX might mean the difference between having another competitor and not while with Amazon it is nearly a foregone conclusion (at least as far as funding goes). There also is technically a firewall between Amazon and Blue Origin while there is no legal seperation between SpaceX launch services and SpaceX Starlink.

Alternatively, OneWeb signing a large order with a company that has never put anything into orbit may mean the difference between SpaceX having a competitor or not.

It cuts both ways.

Soyuz?

Long term, OneWeb can't compete with SpaceX using Soyuz (Or Ariane6) as a launcher though... It's too expensive.

So now OneWeb is stuck between using uncompetitively priced launchers, or competitively priced launchers owned by their own direct competitors... not an enviable position to be in.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2019 03:37 pm by ZachF »
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Offline GalacticIntruder

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #34 on: 04/05/2019 04:07 pm »
Pure Conjecture:

Starlink wants to exist in the hope that it can generate massive revenues for Mars colonization. Not likely IMO. And of course the Google angle of controlling Western content. Kuiper wants to exists because Bezos want to control more infrastructure to sell you stuff, physical and virtual,  (that you don't need). And also be more independent of current players and not pay Musk/Google for Starlink if they are successful, ie starve a future market/competitor. OneWeb exists for no reason other than Greg thinks he can sell it and make money. Also not likely. Therefore we have two players who have to succeed for their goals to be met and one that does not care, Bezos.

The DoD needs Musk or Bezos to make it happen.

FWIW I don't trust anything Bezos does so it is also possible there is something more sinister at play for Bezos but I cannot write it without being banned.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2019 04:08 pm by GalacticIntruder »
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #35 on: 04/05/2019 05:11 pm »

A small difference in the eyes of competitors might be that Amazon has more money than God while SpaceX can't close a $750 million loan. OneWeb signing a large order with SpaceX might mean the difference between having another competitor and not while with Amazon it is nearly a foregone conclusion (at least as far as funding goes). There also is technically a firewall between Amazon and Blue Origin while there is no legal seperation between SpaceX launch services and SpaceX Starlink.

Alternatively, OneWeb signing a large order with a company that has never put anything into orbit may mean the difference between SpaceX having a competitor or not.

It cuts both ways.

Soyuz?

Long term, OneWeb can't compete with SpaceX using Soyuz (Or Ariane6) as a launcher though... It's too expensive.

So now OneWeb is stuck between using uncompetitively priced launchers, or competitively priced launchers owned by their own direct competitors... not an enviable position to be in.
Blue Origin and Amazon are totally separate companies. Bezos doesn't own Amazon, still needs to answer to his board of directors when it comes to big decisions.

If Bezos wants Blue to succeed it needs to treat both its OneWeb and Amazon customers equally. I can't see Bezo subsidizing Amazon launches, its only going hurt Blue in long run.
Amazon may even use SpaceX if it works out cheaper than Blue for launches.

Offline ZachF

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #36 on: 04/05/2019 05:44 pm »

A small difference in the eyes of competitors might be that Amazon has more money than God while SpaceX can't close a $750 million loan. OneWeb signing a large order with SpaceX might mean the difference between having another competitor and not while with Amazon it is nearly a foregone conclusion (at least as far as funding goes). There also is technically a firewall between Amazon and Blue Origin while there is no legal seperation between SpaceX launch services and SpaceX Starlink.

Alternatively, OneWeb signing a large order with a company that has never put anything into orbit may mean the difference between SpaceX having a competitor or not.

It cuts both ways.

Soyuz?

Long term, OneWeb can't compete with SpaceX using Soyuz (Or Ariane6) as a launcher though... It's too expensive.

So now OneWeb is stuck between using uncompetitively priced launchers, or competitively priced launchers owned by their own direct competitors... not an enviable position to be in.
Blue Origin and Amazon are totally separate companies. Bezos doesn't own Amazon, still needs to answer to his board of directors when it comes to big decisions.

If Bezos wants Blue to succeed it needs to treat both its OneWeb and Amazon customers equally. I can't see Bezo subsidizing Amazon launches, its only going hurt Blue in long run.
Amazon may even use SpaceX if it works out cheaper than Blue for launches.

For Amazon, the only entity that could potentially offer competitive pricing with BO, is SpaceX, a competitor to their upcoming constellation. This is without any special subsidies or pricing, either.
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Offline Lar

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #37 on: 04/05/2019 05:53 pm »
Seems like short lifespan satellites. Iridium lasted about a decade and a half.
Short lifespan is a feature, not a bug. It means upgrading capabilities happens quickly in a routine manner. The SV way is MVP and then iterate like craazy.

Iridium's upgrade arguably was a bet the company task.

I like (not) how every thing goes to SpaceX.

What I'm wondering is why people think Amazon cannot move fast? Do they have a history of being stagnant? I really want to know because they seem to go into markets pretty much as fast has they can go.

Amazon has clearly demonstrated the ability to move fast. Over and over and over. Blue? not so much. So that suggests that this project may launch on whatever launcher is capable and cheapest at the time.  I can't see SpaceX giving them super high discounts but they might well discount to the same level or better that they did Iridium. (whatever that is, we don't know)

PS - I'm not seeing a lot of folks in this thread saying *Amazon* can't move fast. Just Blue.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2019 05:58 pm by Lar »
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Offline spacenut

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #38 on: 04/05/2019 06:20 pm »
Well Amazon/Blue Origin is getting a late start.  We have Alexa's Cubes, Fire TV, etc.  Alexa's search engine is very poor compared to Google.  If Starlink uses Google, it will be no contest unless Amazon Alexa greatly improves. 

Offline envy887

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Re: Amazon Project Kuiper Broadband Constellation
« Reply #39 on: 04/05/2019 07:00 pm »
Another ten thousands of satellites in Earth orbit. That peculiar moment in Wall-E is fast becoming reality...

That is probably the most physically unrealistic moment in Wall-E. Which is really saying something...

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