SpaceX StarLink Pushes the Limits of Technology for Faster Communication – Carnival of Space 588

The Carnival of Space 588 is up at Cosmoquest.

We will look at the highlights of two featured articles and then list the other articles in the survey of the week in space news.

Featured – SpaceX Starlink Satellite Network – Pushing Technology for Low Latency

Universe Today – SpaceX Gives More Details on how their Starlink Internet Service Will Work. Less Satellites, Lower Orbit, Shorter Transmission times, Shorter Lifespans.

Nextbigfuture had written about how low latency for Starlink is something financial companies in New York, London, Tokyo and other major cities will pay billions to get.

Pushing the Limits of Technology

SpaceX is pushing the limits of technology in several areas at the same time. Their use of phased array wireless links to steer narrow beams to and from the satellites will be pushing the limits of what has been done. This is mostly known technology, but doing it to the degree they’re doing it will be challenging. The use of free-space laser links between satellites is relatively unknown technology. The European Space Agency previously demonstrated that it was possible, but SpaceX will need to track more targets simultaneously and achieve higher data rates.

Starlink will send messages via a series of ground stations that will transmit information through radio waves to the satellites above. These satellites would then relay the messages using lasers it reaches the one above the recipient’s destination, where the data would then be beamed down to the correct station using radio waves again.

Getting High Bandwidth and Half the Latency on Earth

The speed of light in a vacuum is ≈ 47% higher that in glass (fiber cables). In the Mark Handley paper, charts show 36 ms latency for some routing for SpaceX Starlink network. Starlink would be almost twice as fast as communication on earth. There is 76 ms latency on earth.

Modification to the Plan for Phase 1a

There are currently 4,857 satellites in orbit of Earth. The original SpaceX plan would nearly triple this number but the current plan would double it.

According to the SpaceX FCC StarLink filing, the plan was to initially deploy 4425 satellites to orbits of between 1100 and 1300 km (680 and 800 mi). SpaceX has since indicated that they will be deploying their first 1600 satellites to an altitude of 550 kilometers (340 mi) to avoid adding to the space debris problem.

Other Carnival of Space Articles

NASA goes PC.

Universe Today – Lunar Outpost Shows off their New Rover that will Crawl the Moon, Searching for Resources

Universe Today – Super-Earth Found Around One of the Closest Stars to us. But it’s Probably a Terrible Place to Live

Nextbigfuture – Elon Musk Accelerating Development of the Super Heavy Starship

Nextbigfuture – Black Holes, Quantum Systems, Superconductors and Planck’s Constant are Related

Nextbigfuture – $4 Billion Moon Water Mining Operation for $2.4 Billion Per Year Business

Nextbigfuture – Elon Musk is the Most Important Person Alive Today

6 thoughts on “SpaceX StarLink Pushes the Limits of Technology for Faster Communication – Carnival of Space 588”

  1. This is going to create some serious issues for China and their “Great Firewall.” Black market Starlink internet routers could be a serious problem and ultimate downfall for China’s internet censorship program.

  2. Low Latency sounds like a hardcore gaming network. If they can carry the bandwidth, they would get good market share if the price is right.

  3. Is a waiting planet willing and able to pay for any of this? Don’t think so. Are some governments willing to forgo control and censorship of web communication? Not a chance.

  4. There’s only a tiny handful of countries on the planet that have good internet and even there it’s only in the cities.

    Basically the whole planet is waiting for this.

  5. Another nice article. I am wondering what the max bandwidth (up, down) per square mile (at a given lat) is expected with the current design. Will the down/up link be the limiter or the crosslinks?

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