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Old 03-11-2018, 11:14   #31
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

Donít pick a fight with Elon. He was the first to achieve real reusability for space rockets and although evolutionary, his success with SpaceX is remarkable.
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:16   #32
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

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... Musk has yet to FULLY deliver on any of his dream schemes, hasn't he? "Close" counts in horseshoes, but not so much in satellite systems.
Well, aside from Tesla and Solar City, Musk did start Zip2 which sold to Compaq for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock, and PayPal (X.com) which sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in stock (for his 11% holding).
I don't deny, however, that he has some "out there" ideas - some of which may augur the future (and/or not).
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:30   #33
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

Gord-
Paypal wasn't one of the engineering dream schemes, it was more of "We can do transaction processing for everyone, not just banks and brokers, right?" which certainly was a right idea at the right time. Although if you remember, he got it off the ground by making it a FREE service for non-commercial users, and only after it had become entrenched was he able to crank up the prices for everyone.
I don't remember if that was before or after his near bankruptcy, do you?

As to cannisters of 40 satellites...Nice to know there are some detailed plans out there. I guess he's planning to use "cubesats" or minisats however you want to call them for the LEO portion of things. Still, to build out the system that's going to need 200 dedicated launches. And a batch of money.

Bearing in mind that Iridium WENT BROKE and was going to be fireballed back down to earth, before it got sold for pennies on the dollar at auction, which is the only reason it still exists today. There's definitely a pony in the pile (as the joke goes) but I don't think Elon's mathematical skills include any true expertise in marketing or economics. Sadly.

I'd love to see some of his ideas bear fruit, I just can't bet on that.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:01   #34
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

I can't say I care much about videochats and high bandwidth comms, though I do enjoy putting up pictures of my coastal cruising between Seattle and Glacier Bay, and those who follow my trips vicariously enjoy it. The thing I REALLY want, is access to weather information. As an earlier poster noted, he knows he doesn't need more than he has, because he doesn't have it now. A position I respect, but you can make that argument all the way back to the chronometer and the sextant. Weather, on the other hand, is mission-critical. I would be a better sailor with deeper skills there, and the means to get the underlying data. Meanwhile, I'm still heading north come May.
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Old 09-11-2018, 14:47   #35
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

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I don't know where you are getting 'anywhere in the world' from these satellites. The Starlink system consists of low altitude satellites, these do not have a large foot print on the ground. Middle of the Pacific it is very unlikely that you will be in the path of one of these. It takes 800 satellites to cover the US, and the Pacific is a lot bigger.
Paul, the Iridium system covers the whole world with 66 satellites, in real time, continuously. I'm sure Musk can cover the whole world easily with his constellation.
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Old 09-11-2018, 14:57   #36
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

Paul-
I don't think you're aware of how these satellite systems work. Musk is putting up two kinds of satellites. A small number of high orbit (20,000 miles high) geostationary satellites, that always sit on top of one place on the earth. And then a much larger number (7600?) of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, which typically are spaced out in rings, along the lines of latitude. So there may be 50 of these LEO satellites on the equator, and 25 or them at latitude 60 (north as well as south) and just like the international space station, they rip over the entire surface of the earth in about 90 minutes. Every 90 minutes or so, every one of them circles the entire planet. They don't give a damn if Durban or Paris or Detroit happens to pass under them, or if 3000 miles of empty ocean pass under them, they still CIRCLE THE EARTH at high speed, all day and all night.
So if there is ANY LAND receiving any coverage at a particular latitude, all of the barren places and all of the empty water or ice at that same latitude will get equally good coverage.

The original Iridium system is famous for having lousy coverage at far northern and southern latitudes because they simply didn't waste their money putting lots of satellites over mostly empty spaces. You'd have to ask Elon, but I'll bet those will be the last areas he's even thinking about covering.
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Old 09-11-2018, 15:00   #37
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

Very surprised at the amount of negativity on this thread. Bill Gates & others planned Teledesic (277 satellites in LEO) back in 2001, but held back when Iridium went belly up, so the concept is not new. Having been a Winlink user for 17 years, I'd *love* to see a faster alternative. Musk is planning to price this to be competitive with terrestrial cellular. I, for one, would love to see him succeed, & to reap the fruits of his labor.
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Old 09-11-2018, 15:12   #38
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

Jon-
Some of us are rather negative because economics doesn't really change. Yes, US domestic cellular rates have fallen from $5 per minute (long distance and roaming being a large part of that) to $50 for unlimited minutes. And even at $5/minute they made money and grew. Of course, I'd placed transatlantic phone calls that cost just as much, and VOIP now makes that practically free too.

But satellites??

They're still damned expensive. You'll note that Gates (no genius at hardware, practically every MS hardware adventure failed) backed out. Musk? WHAT HAS HE MADE MONEY ON? TO say he made money on Paypal is irrelevant, that was a surprise even to him, and a "new" business model. He's still losing gobs of money on Tesla. His solar roof tiles still aren't being installed, except for a few lucky test customers at hugely increased costs...he's just not someone that Jimmy the Greek would give you even odds on.

We already HAVE cheap global satcoms. Compared to what plain cell phones cost $20 years ago, the current satcom rates and systems are perfectly competitive. And sailors still cry because, gee, they want broadband speeds for $10/month worldwide?

Elon will have to be some wizard, because even the terrestrial systems from Inmarsat and others are still relatively expensive and slow--and they've had way more skin in the game than Elon has, for way longer.
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Old 09-11-2018, 15:24   #39
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

I too am surprised and disappointed at the negativity here - and what makes it more disappointing is that people are "playing the man, not the ball". They are anti-Musk when they have never even met the man.

Musk didn't dream this up on his own - he's in competition with Oneweb and these two offerings are nothing like traditional sat providers, in either tech or cost structure. People should take the time to read the background to these systems before coming out with some of the rubbish we have in this thread.

if you really want to understand the why and what see https://spacenews.com/divining-what-...onstellations/
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Old 09-11-2018, 16:23   #40
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

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Paul, the Iridium system covers the whole world with 66 satellites, in real time, continuously. I'm sure Musk can cover the whole world easily with his constellation.
Except they explicitly say it will take the first 800 to only cover the US.

You can take skepticism of a promised technology with no delivery date and no published business model as negativism if you wish. I've heard the tales of so many promises in communications and solar tech that I like to see a lot more meat before I become a fanboy.
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:06   #41
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

Paul, it doesn't cost anything to be a fan. I'm not planning to invest anything just yet. Musk is much more clued up on the economics than me, & he's investing multi-millions. I'll happily watch & smile & see what his team of experts comes up with. And these are not geosynchronous birds. Using 800 birds to "only cover the US" is the same as "covering all countries within 48 degrees of the equator" if you understand orbital mechanics. Non-geosynchronous satellites don't sit still overhead.

Most of the negativity here seems to be financial, but I don't think many here have the financial credentials to really give financial advice, especially in this arena. This is pretty new territory, as even Kevin's excellent link says. But it also says there are lots of other players also investing multi-millions. Yes, there are huge risks, & probably several companies will fail. But even if just one survives, it will give us world cruisers better options than we have today. I can handle that.

HelloSailor even answered their own concern about costs, noting that our current cell system, which cost several fortunes to set up, & the original handsets cost a couple orders of magnitude more than current handsets, has matured into a vibrant, lucrative, & very competitive industry. Yes, it took time, & some folks got screwed along the way. The US was a pioneer in cellular & they went for analog systems. The rest of the world watched & then leap-frogged our then-antiquated system & went straight to GSM digital when their time came, obsoleting our system. Something similar may well happen in the satellite communications arena, but all the current players know all about the problems with geostationary & even Iridium systems. They're jumping in with their technological eyes open.

There's also talk of the potential high cost of the ground terminal. In 2001 we paid $1,000 for a reconditioned Iridium sat-phone. The antenna for that was about the size of a stack of 4 quarters (coins). OK, the handset is the size of an ancient cell-phone on steroids, but it's usable, & technology brought the size (& cost) of cellphones down tremendously. I'm sure it'll do the same for sat-phones if there's sufficient demand. It's true there's a "chicken & egg" problem here, but nothing that can't be worked through. The first ones will be big & clunky & probably expensive, but that will change, especially if the service is anywhere near as cheap as promised, or even just cheaper than alternatives.

I'm not planning to invest, but I'm going to watch developments in the space-based-broadband-communications sphere with interest -- & a fair amount of hope.
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:15   #42
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

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We are glad you are so excited about it. I'll call when I want any of those great benefits. I already know I don't need them, because I don't have them...

But don't go by me... I have never had a "real time video chat" with anyone, ever, anywhere. Not sure why I would want one in the middle of the ocean. Heck, I make about one PHONE call every other month, and haven't seen a tv show for 40 years, so I am probably more than a bit of an outlier...
And I suppose you also navigate with a sextant and compas and use a fog horn and only paper charts!
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:21   #43
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

SpaceX is Elon Musk's initiative. Don't discount that it coild happen, I just wouldn't bet on it happening all too soon!!!

From Wikipedia:

By 2017, SpaceX submitted*regulatory filings*to launch nearly 12,000 satellites to orbit by the mid-2020s.[4]*SpaceX also plans to sell satellites that use that satellite bus that may be used for scientific or exploratory purposes.[5]
Development began in 2015, and prototype*test-flight*satellites were launched on 22 February 2018.[6][7]*Initial operation of the constellation could begin in 2020 with satellite deployment beginning mid 2019.[8]The SpaceX satellite development facility in*Redmond, Washington, houses the research and development operations for the satellite Internet project.
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Old 10-11-2018, 16:52   #44
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

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Paul, it doesn't cost anything to be a fan. I'm not planning to invest anything just yet. Musk is much more clued up on the economics than me, & he's investing multi-millions. I'll happily watch & smile & see what his team of experts comes up with. And these are not geosynchronous birds. Using 800 birds to "only cover the US" is the same as "covering all countries within 48 degrees of the equator" if you understand orbital mechanics. Non-geosynchronous satellites don't sit still overhead.

.....
Can't say I understand orbital mechanics in terms of satellites. I'll leave that to the phenomenologist. I once worked on a spook satellite and had to deal with one of the senior guys on the project. His title was mission phenomenologist. Never really figured out what he did.

It does seem like a contradiction that, as you say, 800 satellites cover essentially the northern hemisphere but it takes 7,000 more to cover the rest of the world.

You aren't a committed enough fanboy to invest. I'm not committed enough skeptic to short. So we'll just have to monitor the progress over the next 5 years or so. By that time existing cruiser offshore sat comms will probably be obsolete and I might have to relegate my SSB/pactor setup to the backup category.
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Old 10-11-2018, 17:28   #45
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Re: Starlink and the future of communication at sea

Paul, I've never heard of a phenomenologist - that's hysterical!

The initial deployment of 800 birds *will* cover the whole world, except for polar regions (check out the coverage video posted earlier). But they'll only be able to handle a fairly limited capacity, like 5 different short-path (low latency) links between NY & London (although each link can carry MANY information flows, voice & data, & longer, higher latency paths will still be available). The additional birds are projected for later, when demand increases. They'll also be in lower orbits, so will be easier to hit, & with smaller phones.

This strikes me as a prudent way to proceed, as Musk can get his initial constellation up with "only" about 20 launches. If the system is slower to attract customers than forecast, he can delay expanding his constellation until business warrants it.
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