Elon Musk intends to block out the night sky forever - Space-X? More like S̶p̶a̶c̶e̶

Cedric_Eff

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Didn’t they say that the Starlink Satellites are going to be painted with Vantablack soon?
 

The Mass Shooter Ron Soye

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That's pretty bad, but if you don't give a shit you can say you're perfectly content knowing everything we currently know about the universe and will never need to study anything any more.
That image is a worst case scenario since the satellites are clustered together shortly after launch, they raise their orbits, and SpaceX is lowering the brightness of newer versions. Nevertheless, space-based astronomy is going to completely dominate ground-based in the coming decades. Guess who is selling the cheapest launch capability (per kilogram)?

Is Musk intentionally ruining ground-based astronomy in order to force institutions to use his rockets to send up more space telescopes? Probably not, since Starlink revenue will completely dwarf launch revenue if their projections are correct. SpaceX doesn't make very much from doing 10-20 launches a year while offering one of the cheapest rockets.

Once SpaceX has Starship working, they could launch giant telescopes that would have previously needed to have a complicated folding design (such as JWST), at a fraction of the cost. A fully reusable launch could be as low as $2-10 million instead of tens or hundreds of millions. Suddenly, your shittiest state university can build a bulky space telescope as cheaply as possible and launch it into low earth orbit. Look at how scientifically productive the Hubble telescope is, then imagine making it larger and having dozens or hundreds of those in orbit.

Didn’t they say that the Starlink Satellites are going to be painted with Vantablack soon?
https://spacenews.com/spacex-astronomers-working-to-address-brightness-of-starlink-satellites/

I didn't hear anything about Vantablack specifically, just that they already lowered the albedo of new ones and are making small tweaks to every new batch.
 
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Idiotron

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Right now, we have less than 3k satelites orbiting Earth.
Adding another 38k doesn't seem like a good idea, especially if it's done by a single corporation.
We're essentially letting 1 guy monopolize Earth's orbit.
No competition means low quality and don't even get me started on the fact that we don't even know what these satelites will be capable of (the 24/7 surveillance of today is nothing compared to what's coming).

I don't like this at all but I can't do anything about it.
 

Coolio55

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Now that everywhere has internet forever there's no real excuse for not having tracking/life support wetware implanted into us at birth with all the systems serverside.
There is no "going offline" anymore. It's 2021.
 

3119967d0c

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The future of astronomy is going to be space based anyway, not earth bound. This is progress.
A suspicious person might point out that a person with an interest in a company that intends to build autonomous heavy lifting rockets might have an interest in making astronomy unworkable from the ground.
Better internet access means more access to education for poor nations, which may actually have a positive effect on the benighted people in those locales. I know that in the developed world we fuck around on the internet all day, but people who actually need the information might use it for more than looking up hentai and posting memes.
Internet access is a national infrastructure issue, an easily solved one.

I know there aren't many WiMax networks in the US, but creating light pollution over the entire world isn't actually the solution to your third world infrastructure.
 

Your Weird Fetish

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Right now, we have less than 3k satelites orbiting Earth.
Adding another 38k doesn't seem like a good idea, especially if it's done by a single corporation.


We're essentially letting 1 guy monopolize Earth's orbit.
No competition means low quality and don't even get me started on the fact that we don't even know what these satelites will be capable of (the 24/7 surveillance of today is nothing compared to what's coming).

I don't like this at all but I can't do anything about it.
There are multiple other companies looking at doing the same thing.

A suspicious person might point out that a person with an interest in a company that intends to build autonomous heavy lifting rockets might have an interest in making astronomy unworkable from the ground.

Internet access is a national infrastructure issue, an easily solved one.

I know there aren't many WiMax networks in the US, but creating light pollution over the entire world isn't actually the solution to your third world infrastructure.
Astronomy has ALWAYS been better with less atmosphere in the way. It's just until recently it was too expensive to get anything up there to do it.
 

Sexual Chocolate

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Cheap fast internet worldwide
How is this going to be cheap though?

It's going to cost - what? - to launch 40,000 satellites. Or even "just" 12,000. Plus all the ground infrastructure (backhaul) to actually connect it to the internet.

"At least $10Bn" over a decade, according to SpaceX a couple of years ago. I dunno how optimistic that estimate is, but assume it's true.

$10Bn isn't a small investment. They're going to want customers to pay this back at some stage. Probably before they get to the 40,000 mega constellation.

So where are the customers? First world countries already have good internet coverage, and it's getting better all the time. Probably isn't a huge market for this in the US, or Europe, or Australia, or Japan, or Korea. Rural broadband for isolated communities is a niche because it's a tiny market.

So - third world countries? But there's a few problems:

* These guys have less money to spend on fancy internet plans, especially if they involve buying expensive (and very stealable) outdoor antennas to work. People in South Africa will kill you to steal plastic lawn furniture. That could put customers off mounting a big "rob me" sign on their homes.

* The Third World already has the internet, mostly. 70% of the African population had mobile broadband coverage by 2019. Cellphones are cheap and popular and ubiquitous. It's a lot cheaper and easier to keep building and upgrading cell towers and cable infrastructure on the ground in Lagos.

The other 30% is still a lot of people, but those people tend to live in dirt-poor villages, where their problem isn't being able to stream Netflix in 4K, it's reliable access to clean water. Are they going to be able to pay for Starlink in chickens or cassava? Africa's population is growing fast, but people are moving to the cities - which already have good internet options. Similar situation in Asia, most of their cities have good internet and that's where the population is moving to.

* What will legacy internet providers do when Starlink starts competing with them? They've already sunk billions into 3G, 4G, 5G, DSL, and cable. Starlink still has to spend many billions of dollars to even begin to compete. The phone and cable companies can afford to cut prices and still make a profit. Can Starlink compete on price with fiber already in the ground, or cellphone masts that already exist? Probably not. And those options don't need you to buy an expensive antenna, then mount it on your house.

* Every satellite internet company to date has either gone bust or had to retrench to tiny niche markets such as oil rigs and cruise ships. Maybe Elon has the secret sauce to make it a profitable business, but maybe he's just shooting for the most spectacularly expensive failure.
 

garakfan69

Please be patient, I have idiocy
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Consumer satellite internet is nothing new, it just sucks.

It's expensive, has high latencies, is unreliable (ever watched satellite tv on a snowy day?), it usually only works in one direction (receiving from a satellite is much easier than sending to one) - so you can't use it without a separate internet connection.
 

break these cuffs

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How is this going to be cheap though?

It's going to cost - what? - to launch 40,000 satellites. Or even "just" 12,000. Plus all the ground infrastructure (backhaul) to actually connect it to the internet.

"At least $10Bn" over a decade, according to SpaceX a couple of years ago. I dunno how optimistic that estimate is, but assume it's true.

$10Bn isn't a small investment. They're going to want customers to pay this back at some stage. Probably before they get to the 40,000 mega constellation.

So where are the customers? First world countries already have good internet coverage, and it's getting better all the time. Probably isn't a huge market for this in the US, or Europe, or Australia, or Japan, or Korea. Rural broadband for isolated communities is a niche because it's a tiny market.

So - third world countries? But there's a few problems:

* These guys have less money to spend on fancy internet plans, especially if they involve buying expensive (and very stealable) outdoor antennas to work. People in South Africa will kill you to steal plastic lawn furniture. That could put customers off mounting a big "rob me" sign on their homes.

* The Third World already has the internet, mostly. 70% of the African population had mobile broadband coverage by 2019. Cellphones are cheap and popular and ubiquitous. It's a lot cheaper and easier to keep building and upgrading cell towers and cable infrastructure on the ground in Lagos.

The other 30% is still a lot of people, but those people tend to live in dirt-poor villages, where their problem isn't being able to stream Netflix in 4K, it's reliable access to clean water. Are they going to be able to pay for Starlink in chickens or cassava? Africa's population is growing fast, but people are moving to the cities - which already have good internet options. Similar situation in Asia, most of their cities have good internet and that's where the population is moving to.

* What will legacy internet providers do when Starlink starts competing with them? They've already sunk billions into 3G, 4G, 5G, DSL, and cable. Starlink still has to spend many billions of dollars to even begin to compete. The phone and cable companies can afford to cut prices and still make a profit. Can Starlink compete on price with fiber already in the ground, or cellphone masts that already exist? Probably not. And those options don't need you to buy an expensive antenna, then mount it on your house.
It's a solution for a problem that doesn't really exist anymore thanks to cell phones.
* Every satellite internet company to date has either gone bust or had to retrench to tiny niche markets such as oil rigs and cruise ships. Maybe Elon has the secret sauce to make it a profitable business, but maybe he's just shooting for the most spectacularly expensive failure.
Are any of his businesses profitable?
 

melty

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I don't care what the satellites do, I can't wait to dump my money into Elon Musk space internet company. I don't even like the guy.
 
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Sexual Chocolate

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Consumer satellite internet is nothing new, it just sucks.

It's expensive, has high latencies, is unreliable (ever watched satellite tv on a snowy day?), it usually only works in one direction (receiving from a satellite is much easier than sending to one) - so you can't use it without a separate internet connection.
Tbf to Starlink, the latency should be a lot better than older satellite internet providers, because it's in low Earth orbit (280km) instead of geostationary orbit (37,000km). They're boasting of latency "as low as" 25ms, which means it's probably higher but still competitive with legacy consumer broadband. No idea how contention ratios, weather and backhaul will affect the service for customers in the real world though.

I dunno, seems like it's the ultimate go big or go home play at the consumer end. If they don't get people signing up in mass market volumes, there's no way costs will come down to anything approaching "cheap".

Otoh, the DoD, telcos and big corporates might be good target customers for this. A lot of companies are still spending lots of money on WAN. The airlines will probably love it too.
 

Nephi

Get fucked
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Cheap fast internet worldwide or some nerds staring at the sky while pretending like they're doing something important... hm, that's a hard choice.
Do you know how I know you are American?
Space debris is an extremely important issue, so go fuck your sister instead of being an unfunny smug exceptional individual with that highbilly Midwestern anti-intellectualism of yours and perhaps only then humankin won't be so doomed.

I don't care what the satellites do, I can't wait to dump my money into Elon Musk space internet company. I don't even like the guy.
Personally I'm don't care that much about my own short-term self-interest since I'm not a hedonistic hypercapitalistic sociopath/sadist.
That being said, even if your only concern is your self-interest perhaps you should care.
This kind of shit threatens to kill your profits, and capitalism altogether for that matter, hope you like the Medieval Period, if humankin can't obtain energy sources outside of Earth and Space Debris doesn't allow us to get out of here we're royally fucked once oil and uranium run out.

But I agree, Musk is an unlikable junkie and tryhard, the only ones that find his ambienposting and wasteful antics funny are plebbitors.
 
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Stephanie Bustcakes

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