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Will SpaceX's Internet Satellite Change the Broadband Game?

Will SpaceX's Internet Satellite Change the Broadband Game?

The 23-story-tall jumbo rocket carried a Tesla Roadster from Musk's private collection, and it's now bound to fly in a loop beyond Mars orbit and back toward Earth.

These mass-produced satellites will use the relatively little-used V band, which covers 40GHz to 75GHz, to communicate with each other in a mesh network.

Deemed Microsat 2A and 2B in FCC licensing applications, the small 400 kg satellites will act as SpaceX's first-ever flight test of integrated satellite hardware - a massive step towards realizing the company's dream of Starlink, a global internet constellation meant to provide service of the same caliber (or better...) as providers like Comcast, Time Warner, and others. Here's what you need to know about it.

SpaceX head honchos alongside Musk told the FCC that two satellites would be launched on one of the Falcon 9 space rockets.

WikiWhat's the history on Starlink?

The proposed satellite constellation would network together to provide high-speed internet to most if not all of the world.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg created an initiative called Internet.org which would help bring free internet to undeveloped nations by partnering with telecom firms like Qualcomm and Samsung. SpaceX isn't alone in the wagon since many organizations are using satellite broadband, however, it is not available for the masses for now. Smaller satellites are crucial to lowering the cost of space-based Internet and communications.

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The constellation is meant to provide broadband internet service at "fiber-like speeds", especially for individual households and small businesses, according to testimony from Patricia Cooper, SpaceX vice president of government affairs, during an October Senate committee hearing. In a statement, Pai said, "Satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach". And last week, FCC chairman Ajit Pai gave SpaceX's internet ambitions a nudge by urging the FCC to approve SpaceX's broader internet proposal.

"To bridge America's digital divide, we'll have to use innovative technologies". It has previously approved requests from OneWeb, Space Norway and Telesat.

What's the tech behind Starlink?

The low-Earth orbits will allow Spacex to target latencies of approximately 25-35 ms.

PAZ will be delivered to the same orbit as two related radar-imaging satellites, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X, forming a high-resolution satellite constellation. However, the satellites that will form the backbone off Starlink will orbit the earth at an altitude of around 1,200 kilometers. The system is created to provide speeds of 1Gbps, which is comparable to speeds now offered by ground-based fiber optic networks.

While SpaceX made no official announcement about its secondary payloads, the Federal Communications Commision issued experimental licenses to the company to conduct the mission.

Test communications satellites are equipped with antennas with phased array. After all, they won't stay in a fixed position. For now though, their goal is providing internet for everyone here on Earth, including areas that have been plagued with a lack of connectivity, such as poverty-stricken areas/countries. The rocket will also have two additional satellites hitchhiking along for the ride: prototype probes built by SpaceX to test out the technology needed to beam down internet from space.


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