back to article SpaceX's Starlink satellite broadband constellation to achieve full global coverage by September, boss claims

The dream of ubiquitous satellite broadband is nearing reality, according to Starlink president Gwynne Shotwell. Speaking at an Aussie bank's Technology conference, the company leader said global coverage would be reached by September. In her talk, Shotwell said "continuous global coverage" would be achieved when SpaceX's …

  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Does space have an ecology?

    "ecological due diligence...may result in a greater number of collisions, which would increase the amount of space debris,"

    What's the ecological consequences of more debris in space?

    There may well be consequences, that's true, but what will be the effect on the ecology? Trees dying? Fish dying? Birds dying? People breathing in debris and getting lung diseases? I've not yet seen space trees, space fish, or space birds and the people up there are sealed off from the "ecology" because it's already deadly as it is.

    (integral trees and the iron chicken notwithstanding)

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Does space have an ecology?

      Presumably ecological due diligence includes environmental problems such as collisional cascading, ruined astronomical observations and bits of dead satellites falling on giant clams. Viasat demonstrate their vexatious litigant credentials by trying to block a change to a lower orbit which would reduce the risk of collisional cascading and reduce the impact on astronomy. Starlink satellites are designed to burn up completely before reaching the ground so that is a non-issue too - unless constellation operators are expected to deal with threat of invasion by shell snails.

    2. Pen-y-gors

      Re: Does space have an ecology?

      Earth orbit is part of our ecosystem. If it's full of bits of junk it becomes unusable, in the same way that if the sea and our rivers are full of junk they can't be used. And not being able to use satellites any more would have a major impact on human lives these days.

      1. tip pc Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Does space have an ecology?

        "If it's full of bits of junk it becomes unusable"

        whats your definition of full?

        it'll take many more than the planned number of sats to get to 1% of orbital space used up.

        10's of thousands of starlinks will be like urinating in the Atlantic and claiming its now polluted.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Does space have an ecology?

        I won't up or down vote either way, but every definition I can find of ecology involves living organisms. There are no living organisms in orbit other than those we have put up there ourselves, therefore there is no ecology. This brings us back to my original point. "There may well be consequences, that's true, but what will be the effect on the ecology?"

        Someone is probably responsible for keeping an eye on things up there, but it's NOT a job for ecologists.

  2. Sparkus

    Full Coverage

    is significantly different than being able to operate in specific countries.

    No country with a PTT cash-cow and long-term debt from building out oceanic cable systems and terrestrial cell networks is going to let Starlink in the front door.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Full Coverage

      Starlink satellites cannot (yet) communicate with each other. Instead they form a link between the customers and a ground station connected to whatever is available such as debt financed oceanic cables. Starlink is effectively useless in cities and towns and limited in villages. Cell networks are excellent in cities and become more problematic when approaching central nowhere. Combining the two makes sense: Starlink can be used in rural areas for back haul. Even a country that has invested millions in a failed competitor has given Starlink a license. I am not convinced that Starlink is a commercial danger to a state run post office either.

      I am sure there will be hold-outs, but more related to censorship than competition with a state run Post Telegraph and Telephone service.

      1. newspuppy

        Re: Full Coverage

        Starlink has tested inter sat communications with lasers:

        quote from Sept 2020:( )

        note the word enable after tests.. My understanding is that all sats recently launched have this inter communication capability.


        During the live broadcast of September’s Starlink 11, SpaceX Senior Program Reliability Engineer Kate Tice confirmed that there had been tests conducted using two satellites which featured ‘space lasers’. “Recently as the Starlink team completed a test of two satellites …that are equipped with our inter-satellite links which we call called space lasers,” she said, “With these space lasers, the Starlink satellites were able to transfer hundreds of gigabytes of data.”

        Continued testing and optimization of the inter-satellite communications through the “Space-Laser” feature will be an important component and benchmark to follow as SpaceX’s Starlink network data improves overall transfer rates, allowing latency rates to decrease and out-perform competing communications options. The company plans to mass-enable these inter-satellite links: “Once these space lasers are fully deployed, Starlink will be one of the fastest options to transmit data all over the world,” Tice stated

        <END QUOTE>

        My desire is to get one of these on a sailboat... and WFH..

  3. Anonymous Kiwi

    Does this mean I get to ditch my Internet service provider?

    1. Annihilator

      You can swap it for one owned by Musk, yes. But presumably will need a lot of money to do it. It's in the order of £500 upfront, then £100 a month...

      1. newspuppy

        a token amount to be paid for the speed, connectivity and freedom to work from anywhere one pleases.......

  4. Pen-y-gors

    System capacity

    Does anyone know how many simultaneous customers the 'complete constellation' will be able to service? I suspect it won't be in the billions...

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