I'm not sure I wish to get my broadband connection from the government(*).
(*) British understatement.
The ongoing saga of OneWeb and the UK's ambition to be a major space player took another twist today with the confirmation that $500m will be splurged by Whitehall on the satelite biz. OneWeb, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks as bidders circled. A …
Think of how much time and trouble you’ll save. Now HMGov won’t have to go to the trouble of warrants or even just leaning on the ISP, they’ll have everything they need right in front of them. You’re a meanie for wanting poor innocent civil servants to actually work for a living. Bad suspect. No cookie.
I'm sure it will be possible (at least in what passes for their minds) to mandate that only VPNs which have suitably backdoored encryption will be allowed. And when the keys leak and someone compromises all the banks and takes down the financial system, why, that won't be anything to do with them, it will be the filthy criminals fault.
Dominic CummingsThe UK government: not even the smartest people in an empty room.
Crikey, half a billion smackers conjured out of the ether, just like that. Who do you talk to to get a relatively fair share of that sort of largesse? Or do they come to you with an attractive offer it would be ungracious to deny and refuse?
Inquiring minds would like to know if there are any sort of prime or sub-prime rules in play for those who think there be rules to be followed? :-)
Perhaps they decided on a different way to funnel money to Branson instead of saving his airline.
Perhaps they decided on a different way to funnel money to Branson instead of saving his airline.
Who's to say it is not a Perfect Viaduct ... and as the Virgin Venture that it is ..... most APT that Sir Richard be ACTive at the Forefront of Such Innovative Novel Fields.
You might like to ask him what he would do with such a powerful acquisition/merger/acquaintance and does he have any specific plans for employment/deployment/enjoyment ..... although all of that might be classified sensitive intellectual property and secure strictly need to know information?
Just for clarification, the article states :
"While at first glance, trying to force a mega-constellation of communication satellites in Low Earth Orbit to perform the positioning duties of a few purpose-built spacecraft in higher orbits may seem risky, it could be made to work."
Who is stating it could be made to work - is it the UK Government, or someone with the technical aptitude who has made a comment somewhere ???
To me, $500m is a lot of money to speculate upon for something that "could be made to work".
I find it hard to see how it could possibly be made to work. For a start: don't all GPS spacecraft carry an atomic clock? None of those launched so far have one, surely. And you would need to make a system that was extremely similar to GPS (as the Glonass and the new Chinese ones are) and use an adjacent waveband, otherwise existing chips in GPS receivers and mobile phones around the world simply won't work on them. And then you need a set of ground stations to track their position and upload the orbital data to them at quite frequent intervals. With a couple of dozen spacecraft in highish orbits that's feasible, though surely not cheap to do. With a vast number of low-earth orbit spacecraft that will surely just not be doable at any reasonable cost. Or have I missed something?
Phone chipsets rarely support additional services that weren't around when the chip was designed. No matter how a new navigation system is implemented, whether almost identical to GPS or entirely different, a new chip will be needed to receive from it. The only exception would be a system which augments an existing one, similar to how QZSS overlays upon GPS for Japan. As for the clocks, that would be a problem. While they could put the clocks in the new satellites and reprogram them, they could have also put clocks in their own satellites without buying this company. While a navigation system isn't impossible, it would seem to be a strange step to take if that was the primary goal. Given their discussion of broadband, perhaps they have other goals in mind. Whether those goals make sense or are in any way useful is another question.
Ordinary people in the UK can go on using the US or EU GPS for service similar to current. What the UK won't get that way is super accurate positioning and/or military applications. I presume that using these satellites for that will indeed require new fancy equipment at the point of use.
The other aspect of military usage is more redundancy is better ( China is developing anti-satellite warfare hardware ).
If Britain and her allies have access to a less accurate system which has hundreds of cheap satellites, it would be much harder to take it out than the existing GNS systems which have a handful.
Even if the resolution isn't perfect - an ICBM missing by a few feet is still going to knacker whatever it was aiming at.
"The other aspect of military usage is more redundancy is better ( China is developing anti-satellite warfare hardware )."
While redundancy can be useful, it also increases complexity. There are so many if's and but's in this is it hard to know where to begin. Basically it feels like someone aw the word satellite on for sale notice and said, that will do. Also not that phone satellites are unlikely to hardened to military spec nor meet military encryption capability.
"If Britain and her allies have access to a less accurate system which has hundreds of cheap satellites, it would be much harder to take it out than the existing GNS systems which have a handful."
I'm not sure Britain ha any allies left. An inaccurate GPS system is an oxymoron
"Even if the resolution isn't perfect - an ICBM missing by a few feet is still going to knacker whatever it was aiming at."
ICBM's are quite happy using inertial navigation and star tracking technology. Your smart missile designed to hit a small bunker window is less resiliant ti inaccracy
> I'm not sure Britain ha any allies left.
> An inaccurate GPS system is an oxymoron
All GNS systems are inaccurate to a point. In some applications the nearest cm matters. In others, the odd yard isn't a big deal. If this constellation can provide redundancy in exchange for a little bit of accuracy, that isn't necessarily a bad tradeoff.
> Your smart missile designed to hit a small bunker window is less resiliant ti inaccracy
It would have to be a very small bunker if a yard makes a difference. Obviously it depends on the accuracy - if it is hundreds of yards that's another thing altogether.
"What the UK won't get that way is super accurate positioning and/or military applications."
This has been the stupidest part of the whole thing all along. The "super secret, amazingly accurate military system" is not actually any more accurate than the freely available services. In fact, its spec is actually worse than the basic open service and much worse than the high accuracy service. The difference is that it's supposed to be more resistant to jamming, and they promise not to turn it off in the middle of a war.
In practice, jamming is irrelevant when you're dropping bombs on people with AKs from thousands of feet up, and as long as we don't suddenly decide to invade France it's fairly unlikely that they're going to threaten to shut everything down to stop us using it. The normal commerical services are perfectly adequate for anything the UK plans on doing, military or otherwise. The problem is nothing to do with how useful the system is, it's purely about being upset for not being allowed in the club, despite us being the ones who decided to leave.
It seems to me the satellites don't need an accurate clock. All that's needed is a ground-level array of receivers at known locations which each note the time from their point of view that every satellite's last clock edge arrived at their location. That doesn't need long-term accuracy, we only need the delta time.
The 'where am I' receiver does the same, and compares the time distribution it sees with that of each receiver in the array, interpolating as necessary. That needs a broadband connection, but that's what these things do, right ?
Well, that has several downsides. Basically, you're hoping to compare a lot of latencies between the satellites, requiring the device at the other end be informed of relatively large sets of data. That would make the system more delicate and require more data from the satellites. It would also make the system a lot more dependent on fixed ground locations, which isn't necessarily the most desirable setup. While those satellites are capable of broadband speeds, doing that would usually require larger receiving dishes and more power output. For things like ships and planes, you probably wouldn't find it that hard. For portable units used by field troops, that approach might be inadvisable. Still, if they intend to use the constellation for this purpose, they may find that my concerns are not that troubling. Still, if I were them and wanted to do the navigation with these satellites, I'd start by considering just putting the clocks in the ones that haven't yet been launched. They're planning to send thousands up; it's fine if 80 don't have clocks.
Like GSM in order for the satellite internet to work all transmissions from various ground stations must arrive in sync. Therefore the ground transceiver must know the exact range to the satellite.
The problem as you correctly point out is that we would not have an exact position for the satellite.
You could potentially model this quite accurately and transmit the ephemeris data out of band.
Also you can have fixed ground stations verifying the exact position of each satellite the same way GPS does but have the clocks on the ground.
It will be clunky and probably never make it into consumer GPS but if what you want is a solution for the military in case we go to war with France then probably it will do the job
It appears to be important to know exactly what is meant by "It can be made to work". I've been poking around reading various articles and papers as I think up new keywords to look for. Best paper I've found so far involved using the Iridium satellites and suggested a likely accuracy (CEP) of around 10km, with various post-processing (which seemed to be mostly a case of waiting a while to collect more data) that could be reduced to around 400m. So yes, it can be made to work, but...
That's the brilliant part of the plan, made possible by ignoring experts, we don't launch them into orbit
The satellites will be placed at strategic points around the coast on top of tall buildings previously holding lights, from which they will broadcast a radio beam. By intersecting two of these beams one will be able to perform long range navigation
Yes, the quango with vested funding interests said it could be made to work (please give us more money so we can investigate how, we'll get back to you in a few years) but the UK Space Agency said it won't work:
OneWeb’s network has been described as unsuitable for navigational purposes by the UK’s own space agency, according to internal documents cited by the Daily Telegraph. A spokesman for the agency declined to comment on the documents.
And here's the article itself, showing its ankles from behind the paywall.
I think this was discussed in an earlier post.
It can work fine - provided they have approriate transmitters.... They dont even need 4 atomic clocks, really, if there are enough of them, with some basestations to provide synchronization..
The gps sats we use today are so expensive because they have a decade design life, are in high orbit, and have to work - there are only 24 operational - but they have a wide area effect each (usually 8 or so can be seen). In LEO, there may be up to 80 in orbit and active for GPS duties at any one time- that improves accuracy round skyscrapers etc - and high latitudes (above 60 degrees, GPS starts to drop efefctiveness) - where traditional gps doesnt work
Signal strength in LEO could also be useful for blocking Chinese russian or US gps analogues (if tensions are ongoing in a particular theatre) - and the shear number provides resilience against anti satellite shenanigans....
WHo knows for sure what the future requirements could be?
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020