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SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Mush hints at Starlink's global scale at the Tesla event



Speaking at the Tesla shareholders' annual meeting, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, also SpaceX Chief Executive Officer, briefly joined the SpaceLine ambitious Starlink program and discussed how he thought the satellite constellation could support more than 3-5% of the world's population.

On May 23, SpaceX successfully launched 60 "v0.9" Starlink satellites – weighing 18.5 tons (~ 41000 lb) – at LEO, a first step unmatched by the ambition in the history of commercial satellites. Delivered in the orbit of ~ 450 km (280 miles), all but four of the 60 spaceships successfully launched their electric ionic pushers and 55 have already raised their orbits to ~ 500 km (31

0 miles). For the technology / partial prototype demonstration mission, Starlink v0.9's record-breaking performance is incredibly impressive and is good for fast and relatively easy design optimization (up to "v1.0") before mass production begins.

In general, Musk is more than ready to recognize some of the potential limitations of the low earth orbit broadband (LEO) system at the Tesla shareholders' meeting in 2019. Most notably, he unambiguously noted that Starlink was not intended to serve densely populated areas and would be primarily focused on low to medium density populations. Excited by the investor's question about the possibility of integrating Starlink into future Tesla cars, Musk confirmed that Starlink's first generations of consumer terminals (ie terrestrial antennas) would be roughly the size of "medium pizza."

Although pizza sizing is not ISO-certified, Starlink's consumer antennas are likely to be about 12-14 inches (30-36 cm) in width and square in shape. Thanks to the use of what Musk regards as the world's most advanced phase antennas, neither Starlink's satellite antennas nor user terminals will have to physically move to maintain a strong signal. Still, as Mouse notes, a medium sized pizza box antenna will still stand out as a sick thumb on the typically all-glass roof of Tesla's consumer cars, although Starlink's built-in antennas may make sense in Tesla Semis.

Elon Musk's specific commentary shows that Starlink, at least in its current iteration, has never served to serve more than 3-5% of the Earth (population: ~ 7.8 billion), most or all of it users are nominally located in areas with low to medium population density. This usually confirms the technical suspicions that Starlink (and other constellations like OneWeb and Telesat) are actually unable to provide the Internet to each by itself.

For SpaceX, each Starlink companion – on official statements that the first 60 satellites represent more than one bandwidth bandwidth – probably offers a bandwidth of around 17-20 gigabits per second. Simply put, this means that one of Starlink's satellites can theoretically support up to 4,000 users who simultaneously stream video on YouTube with 1080p / 30fps, a figure that sounds impressive but exceeds the huge number of people living in cities. It is important to note that every Starlink satellite about 550 km will likely have a radius of service of several thousand, if not tens of thousands of square kilometers.

Although each satellite is only a few square feet, they can serve the Internet to thousands of people at once. Although the United States is extremely large and spreading compared to most other countries, one square kilometer of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Seattle or dozens of other cities could be effortless. saturate the Starlink satellite bandwidth. Even the smallest cities can easily use most or all of ~ 20 Gbps at peak hours. In short, Starlink will be extremely limited traffic. Even if SpaceX can double or triple the bandwidth of each satellite and have 10-100 satellites and can deliver the Internet at any given time, it is hard to imagine that Starlink ever can serve anyone a person who falls into his coverage area.

This also means that Starlink Internet users are likely to be subject to relatively tight bandwidth limitations and peak hours consumption. Fortunately, these limitations will be made entirely of technical necessity, in stark contrast to the arbitrary, greedy-motivated carriers and Internet providers Americans are accustomed to almost everywhere. In an absolute worst case scenario, Starlink's already-connected US customers will get roughly the same quality of service they are accustomed to at approximately the same cost. However, they could be sure that their money would go to SpaceX instead of filling the pockets of shareholders and managers who run US suppliers.

A stack of SpaceX's first 60 satellites. (SpaceX)

In the end, the estimates presented above are extremely conservative and usually involve the worst case scenario. SpaceX can very well overcome expectations and develop unique and innovative ways to effectively use available bandwidth while working tirelessly to improve its technology and expand the carrier capacity of newer satellites. Overall, CEO Elon Musk's comments serve as an excellent temper of the situation around Starling. Initially SpaceX will not break the back of Comcast or Time Warner, but there's no reason to believe that this day will never come. and Unique Glimpse of SpaceX Launch and Recovery Processes


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