Author Topic: Elon Musk eyeing partnership to launch 700 internet satellites  (Read 69658 times)

Offline Robotbeat

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Skynet is already taken by both fiction and nonfiction. I propose Skyternet. :P
« Last Edit: 11/11/2014 01:43 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Skynet is already taken by both fiction and nonfiction. I propose Skyternet. :P
SkyWeb? SpaceWeb? Orbinet? I should trademark all those.
;)

Online meekGee

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That might work for Iran and North Korea. But Russia and China would probably just demand that the satellites are disabled over their territory. "Please turn off your satellites when they fly over our territory, or we will do it for you..."

Well that can be said about spy satellites too, right?

Disabling another country's sattelites is a pretty serious offense.  Do they fear internet access more than they do surveillance?  Probably yes....  So that's interesting.

As for countries like N Korea, of course its not for regular subscriptions. It is 100% a destabilization tool.  Doesn't give you revenue, but gives you international political clout.
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Offline rklaehn

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That might work for Iran and North Korea. But Russia and China would probably just demand that the satellites are disabled over their territory. "Please turn off your satellites when they fly over our territory, or we will do it for you..."

Well that can be said about spy satellites too, right?

Yes. If a superpower like China or Russia does not want to be spied on, they could probably disable such satellites using Laser or RF interference even without resorting to drastic measures like ASAT weapons.

Quote
Disabling another country's sattelites is a pretty serious offense.  Do they fear internet access more than they do surveillance?  Probably yes....  So that's interesting.

I think that free internet access is much more destabilizing for a totalitarian regime than any surveillance.

Online meekGee

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That might work for Iran and North Korea. But Russia and China would probably just demand that the satellites are disabled over their territory. "Please turn off your satellites when they fly over our territory, or we will do it for you..."

Well that can be said about spy satellites too, right?

Yes. If a superpower like China or Russia does not want to be spied on, they could probably disable such satellites using Laser or RF interference even without resorting to drastic measures like ASAT weapons.

Quote
Disabling another country's sattelites is a pretty serious offense.  Do they fear internet access more than they do surveillance?  Probably yes....  So that's interesting.

I think that free internet access is much more destabilizing for a totalitarian regime than any surveillance.

Since everyone (that counts) can, and nobody does, we agree that there's a barrier before you laser the sats you don't like.

Plus, it might be possible to ruggedize a small cheap comsat so that it is not so trivial to disable it with soft weapons.

And I think ASAT is a non starter for China or Russia in this case.  It's like bombing a voice of america station.  Jamming, sure.   But blasting it, no.
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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That might work for Iran and North Korea. But Russia and China would probably just demand that the satellites are disabled over their territory. "Please turn off your satellites when they fly over our territory, or we will do it for you..."

Well that can be said about spy satellites too, right?

Yes. If a superpower like China or Russia does not want to be spied on, they could probably disable such satellites using Laser or RF interference even without resorting to drastic measures like ASAT weapons.

Quote
Disabling another country's sattelites is a pretty serious offense.  Do they fear internet access more than they do surveillance?  Probably yes....  So that's interesting.

I think that free internet access is much more destabilizing for a totalitarian regime than any surveillance.

It's well-established now that anyone's satellite can fly over anyone else's territory.  LEO is the legal equivalent of international waters.  Shooting down a satellite is equivalent to sinking another country's ship in international waters.  It's an act of war.

China and Russia might try to jam the signals the same as they did during the Cold War with Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.  But there's zero chance they're going to shoot them down.

Offline R7

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"Please turn off your satellites when they fly over our territory, or we will do it for you..."
Well that can be said about spy satellites too, right?

There's difference between passive surveillance and providing an active tool for the population. Latter can be argued as meddling with the other country's internal affairs.

Anyhow, real politic says there would be a long string of more mundane threats of commercial etc. sanctions and in the end the hostile regime would just jam the required channels on its own territory.

And as Jim already pointed out, where would you get the hardware to access the Skynet, it would be considered a contraband.
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Online meekGee

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"Please turn off your satellites when they fly over our territory, or we will do it for you..."
Well that can be said about spy satellites too, right?

There's difference between passive surveillance and providing an active tool for the population. Latter can be argued as meddling with the other country's internal affairs.

Anyhow, real politic says there would be a long string of more mundane threats of commercial etc. sanctions and in the end the hostile regime would just jam the required channels on its own territory.

And as Jim already pointed out, where would you get the hardware to access the Skynet, it would be considered a contraband.

The hardware is a non-issue.   See Iran and satellite dishes.  If it works, people will sneak it in.

But this is not revenue service, and this is not why the constellation is being brought up.  The constellation is a commercial for-profit system, and the ability to broadcast into "dark lands" is just an extra, something that gives you international clout.

So for example you might get something from Russia in exchange for allowing them to ALSO broadcast into N. Korea. (Since otherwise only the US gets to do it) and so on.
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Offline gosnold

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Jamming commercial satellites using ITU-approved frequencies would probably elicit a strong response from the US, if WorldVu ends up being a US company.

Offline saliva_sweet

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And as Jim already pointed out, where would you get the hardware to access the Skynet, it would be considered a contraband.

And even if they are smuggled in the ground modem is a radio transmitter so can be easily located and owner sent to reeducation.

Offline gosnold

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And as Jim already pointed out, where would you get the hardware to access the Skynet, it would be considered a contraband.

And even if they are smuggled in the ground modem is a radio transmitter so can be easily located and owner sent to reeducation.

Not if the antenna is directional enough.

Online meekGee

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We're (as usual) spending 90% of the talk over the fringe case...

There's a gray scale here, it is not B&W.

N. Korea is a true totalitarian regime.  Russia and China are not.  They have heavy censorship, yes, but people are a lot freer in their everyday lives then they used to be.  If you've tried, you know it's really hard to tell Russians what to do...   (or even worse, what NOT to do)

Russia is much likelier to combat this at the state level then it is to try to chase down transmitters at people's houses. Chine is a tad "darker", but also more pragmatic.  They're more likely to strike a deal than try to fight it.

It will get interesting.  But there's a lot of political importance to being able to access Africa and other less developed Asian countries.  And in Europe.

If they can build it economically, I think it's got about 100x the potential that Teledesic had.
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Offline go4mars

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Skynet is already taken by both fiction and nonfiction. I propose Skyternet. :P
Or Skywalker.  Charge customers by a new unit; Mitachlorians.
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Offline somepitch

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I think a huge potential market for this could open up as commercial UAVs get more popular and Beyond Line-of-Sight operations are permitted...  Right now video and flight control are provided by a radio link for most commonly available commercial drones - a high-bitrate satellite connection would open up a lot more possibilities!

Online meekGee

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I think a huge potential market for this could open up as commercial UAVs get more popular and Beyond Line-of-Sight operations are permitted...  Right now video and flight control are provided by a radio link for most commonly available commercial drones - a high-bitrate satellite connection would open up a lot more possibilities!

All newly-automated-things will use this.  Drones included.

For example all the self- or almost-self driving cars needs a way to communicate with HQ.  Major highways are pretty well covered, but once you take the back roads, you know the coverage is minimal.
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Offline nadreck

This is a game changer for so many different games (the potential to change many things from the way they are done now, with so much potential that even working towards making it come to pass will change some things)

Off the top of my head, and yes some of these have come up already on this thread:

1. Instead of today's comms satellite manufacturing we will have a new generation and at least one new manufacturer ready to work for others building much cheaper devices. They are as much designing the manufacturing facility as the satellite in one go. Rather than building a dozen or two devices based on one common 'bus' there will be 700, they will need to be able to make spares in the future, so they will have the facility to cheaply manufacture others of similar design for other customers. I believe that Musk and Wyler will be able to build and launch the last of their birds, and the eventual spares, for < $500,000 per bird or < $1M when you include idea #2

2. My pet idea of having a tender with several spares on each plane that takes the dead ones away. With 700 'birds' these guys will likely be replacing 1-2 per week after a while. Once all the spares in a plane have been replaced, deorbit the duds and tender and send up a new tender.

3. These will be flown on F9R's (while this is my opinion, I don't think anyone who has followed any of Musk's business activities can believe he would even think of anything else), this means a minimum of 20 launches but easily up to 50 if #2 happens flights. Those flights will be the certification the insurance companies and commercial clients need to get comfortable with F9R.

4. Smaller constellations would work for smaller bodies, so two or three FH's could launch the Mars constellation of this design, or Venus.

5. Small sat station keeping will advance, presumably these satellites will in fact use each other and key ground stations for their own location fixing as well as providing an alternative GPS network, and has been pointed out here, using this network for other satellites to communicate (and position themselves with) would allow for a new class of satellites that could more cheaply, with less mass, and more reliably communicate and position themselves. Oh and hey there is a factory that could make one or more satellites for your application with this capability and other state of the art things already designed and built in for a fraction of the cost that one of the traditional satellite companies would build.

6. A killer app (because of a more than one order of magnitude reduction in cost for data) generator for new applications of what the infrastructure provides.
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Offline Norm38

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3. These will be flown on F9R's (while this is my opinion, I don't think anyone who has followed any of Musk's business activities can believe he would even think of anything else), this means a minimum of 20 launches but easily up to 50 if #2 happens flights. Those flights will be the certification the insurance companies and commercial clients need to get comfortable with F9R.

Yep.  And the entire system quite fault tolerant.  Because the 700 sats will be churned out through mass production, losses are acceptable.  If they lose an F9R flight, instead of losing an expensive one of a kind bird, they lose 20 cheap mini-sats.  So they build 720 instead of 700, who cares?  They're saving giant piles of cash by flying first stages over and over again.

Offline GalacticIntruder

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3. These will be flown on F9R's (while this is my opinion, I don't think anyone who has followed any of Musk's business activities can believe he would even think of anything else), this means a minimum of 20 launches but easily up to 50 if #2 happens flights. Those flights will be the certification the insurance companies and commercial clients need to get comfortable with F9R.

Yep.  And the entire system quite fault tolerant.  Because the 700 sats will be churned out through mass production, losses are acceptable.  If they lose an F9R flight, instead of losing an expensive one of a kind bird, they lose 20 cheap mini-sats.  So they build 720 instead of 700, who cares?  They're saving giant piles of cash by flying first stages over and over again.

I agree, this micro sat idea only works with a reused F9(R). My fear however, if the F9R fails, the media and critics will go ape poo, like it would be the same-thing as a regular F9 failure. A failure could damage the launch pad, but they should have another two pads operational by then. They could however be forced to stand down non-reused F9/FH, by the various agencies until the investigation is done. I hope Elon does some education will all the relevant entities and media.

I am curious on the bandwidth for these. To innovate it needs to be cheaper, much better, or address under-served  locales.  You can already get a few Mbps, with data caps, for high prices, so it must do better.
« Last Edit: 11/12/2014 01:39 am by GalacticIntruder »
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Offline Robotbeat

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I don't see why a Reused F9R would be less reliable than an unflown one. If anything, you've already caught the early failures so it may well be more reliable.
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