SpaceX Accuses Amazon of Trying To Slow Down Starlink Rollout

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By Ramish Zafar

SPACEX-STARLINK-LAUNCH-JANUARY-20-2021-740x416.jpg

SpaceX's Falcon 9 Block 5 booster number 1051 as it takes to the skies for the eighth time to deliver a batch of 60 Starlink satellites in January. Image: SpaceX/Twitter

In a meeting with members of the FCC's International Bureau (IB), representatives of Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) discussed the company's third modification to its Starlink satellite internet constellation which is currently facing opposition from a host of companies. In this modification, SpaceX has requested the Commission to allow it to reduce the elevation angles of its Earth stations and altitudes of its satellites - citing reduced interference and safety improvements for the changes, respectively.

This proposal however has received significant scrutiny from Amazon's satellite division Kuiper, DISH Corporation and other non-U.S. registered firms who believe that the changes will hamper their ability to operate without constraints. SpaceX's latest discussion elaborates a bit more on the company's safety improvements for Starlink and it reiterates earlier arguments. Yet, it falls slightly short of a full-blown rebuttal following DISH's latest interference analysis submitted to the FCC earlier this month.

SpaceX Improves Starlink Quality Control, Introduces Software Upgrades To Address Non-Maneuverability and Claims Amazon Is Deliberately Hampering Progress
As is often the case with SpaceX's submissions to the FCC, the company's director of satellite policy Mr. David Goldman does not mince his words when taking on competitors. In his latest meeting with the IB, the executive highlighted SpacecX's latest changes for improving Starlink safety, Competitors, including Amazon, have alleged that the modification request makes the constellation more dangerous as it threatens collisions with satellites that propose to operate in these altitudes.

At the safety front, SpaceX has made two corrective changes to improve satellite non-maneuverability. The first of these is improving its manufacturing process for better satellite testing. The second is a software update that seeks to root out problems that cause the spacecraft to stop responding.

These changes, according to Mr. Goldman, have started to bear fruit as out of the last 723 satellites launched by SpaceX, 720 are maneuverable above injection altitude. As opposed to directly launching its satellites to their orbital altitudes, SpaceX first sends them to a lower injection altitude, following which it tests maneuverability and response and then it raises the satellites to. their orbital destinations.

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In a presentation given to the Federal Communications Commission's International Bureau, representatives of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. have provided more details about the constellation's safety. Image: SpaceX IB Presentation in IB File Number: SATMOD2020041700037 filed on February 22, 2021.

The company has also started to decommission its older satellites as it reiterated an earlier argument before the FCC by stating that the lower a satellite's altitude, the sooner it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere following a loss of control. According to SpaceX, should it lose control over its satellites, then they should burn up in the atmosphere in between one to five years.

During the presentation, SpaceX also directly countered Amazon's claims that Starlink will increase interference with the Kuiper constellation once the latter becomes operational. According to SpaceX, Amazon "seems to have given up work on its own nascent NGSO system in favor of its efforts to slow down Starlink."

Amazon's arguments against Starlink are divided into three categories. The company believes that the modification will increase interference due to more active satellites in view, a reduction in Earth station elevation angle and larger beam contours.

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SpaceX believes that following the third modification, Amazon's Kuiper user terminals will have more active satellites in view. Image: SpaceX IB Presentation in IB File Number: SATMOD2020041700037 filed on February 22, 2021.

SpaceX's data also shows that in the post-modification environment Amazon's Earth stations and user terminals will have more satellites in view.

Finally, SpaceX's criticism of DISH is the hardest. The company states that DISH is yet to provide any details about its own system and that the company has, "singled out SpaceX alone for its fishing expedition, even though other NGSO licensees operate with bigger beams, higher transmit power, and lower elevation angles."

SpaceX also believes that DISH's request for data is nothing but game-playing, outlining before the Commission that MVDDS providers have, in the past, asked SpaceX to share information about its systems with them, but after SpaceX provided the information, walked away from the agreement which required them to share details about their systems as well.


SOURCE: wccftech





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Dear Amazon (and other prospective LEO sat companies),
Lead, Follow, or get out of the way.

k thnx bye,

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Jealousy has been here since man began!
 
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Elon Musk Promised Starlink Internet Speeds of 1 Gbps. Will It Happen?

Starlink internet speeds are rising, but will the 1 Gbps promise come true?

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By Brad Bergan
Feb 25, 2021

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Steve Jurvetson / Flickr
In the last year, Elon Musk's SpaceX went from having lifted 242 Starlink satellites to a total beyond 1,000 as it establishes its constellation of broadband internet-providing satellites, designed to include people who lack equitable options for paid internet access around the world.

Elon Musk has claimed Starlink will provide internet speeds of 1 Gbps, and while recent reports have shown impressive download average rates of 110 megabits per second (Mbps) with uploads of 20 Mbps, this is still a long way from 1 Gbps. Will Musk's promise of 1 Gbps really happen?

Elon Musk promises 1 Gbps Starlink internet
In 2019, Elon Musk's SpaceX promised to offer high-speed internet of up to 1 Gbps — 10% of the maximum theoretical 5G-speed of 10 Gbps. The company's 2016 application stated: "once fully optimized through the Final Deployment, the system will be able to provide high bandwidth (up to 1 Gbps per user), low latency broadband services for consumers and businesses in the U.S. and globally."

When initial beta testing rates were released, Starlink internet upload speeds ranged from 5 Mbps to 18 Mbps, with latencies between 31 ms to 94 ms. Naturally, these early low numbers could be attributed to the lower number of satellites SpaceX had launched — at 600 in mid-2019.

Later, Starlink's "Better Than Nothing Beta" opened for early adopters up for a price of $499 for receiver hardware, and $99 per month for Starlink service, according to the subreddit forum r/Starlink.

Starlink speed will 'double' to roughly 300 Mbps this year
The consensus in the Starlink subreddit is that SpaceX's satellites — stationed roughly 340 miles (547 km) high — far outdo traditional internet options for rural markets, like aging DSL connections, whose maximum speeds are no faster than 3G wireless. The older generation of internet satellites for rural areas also suffers from laggy satellite broadband, since they're stationed 22,236 miles (35,785 km) high, in geosynchronous orbit.

"I am more than satisfied," said software developer Leigh Phillips in Kelowna, British Columbia, in a dashboard he posted. Of his internet speeds — which included downloads at 110 Mbps (on average) and uploads of 20 Mbps, Phillips said they were "good to go" in a home with two working parents, in addition to moderate video streaming and gaming.



Starlink has far shorter latency than traditional satellites
On Monday, Musk said Starlink's speed would double to roughly 300 Mpbs, with latency falling to roughly 20 ms later in 2021. While feedback has become more positive in recent months, the company still has room to improve on latency.

Crucial to Starlink's success is its latency, or the "ping time" of how quickly it can send and receive back a single bit of information to a website. Speedtest averaged Starlink's latency at 41 ms, but Phillips' analysis places the internet service at 29 ms. This contrasts sharply with traditional satellites, which can have latencies of 600 ms or more — making gaming and many other applications less than feasible.

Elon Musk's upgrades could continue until 1 Gbps
However, Elon Musk teased Starlink enthusiasts on Wednesday, tweeting: "You might see much higher download speeds on Starlink at times. Testing system upgrades."

"Probably mid year, but Starlink is really meant for those who are least served," added Musk in a subsequent tweet. "Bay usually has Internet," he continued, referring to the San Francisco Bay Area.

SpaceX's Starlink will likely change the internet for keeps — supplying areas of the world stuck in the early twenty-teens with the higher speeds and low-latency seen in urban centers like parts of New York. Likely, Elon Musk won't be able to make good on his 1 Gbps promise until the constellation of internet satellites is complete, but with upgrades beginning this year, we should expect to see more satisfied customers as underserved geographic areas join the next generation of the internet.

SOURCE: Interesting Engineering
 

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Amazon concerned about a SpaceX monopoly, that's hilarious.

In other news, Blue Origin delayed their New Glenn rocket by a year.
 

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