back to article SpaceX takes a leaf from the Microsoft playbook and stands down Starlink for an update

What do Windows 10 and SpaceX's Starlink launch have in common? One needs updating and might explode without warning. The other is an operating system. Patch trekking, across the universe Space fans waiting for Elon Musk's mighty missile to lob its heaviest ever payload into orbit were disappointed for a second day running …

  1. Paul Herber Silver badge

    It looks like you are launching a rocket. Do you want to ask Amazon for help with that? Not.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Wrong question

      Will I get free delivery for my satellite with a Prime subscription?

  2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Apologies in advance...

    ...onboard Hall thrusters, powered by krypton...

    Hall thrusters, of course, are powered by electricity, in this case the craft's solar panels. The krypton is merely the working fluid.

    Interesting that they're using krypton as propellant rather than the more common xenon, trading off performance for a substantial cost saving.

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: Apologies in advance...

      I think I read krypton is something like an order of magnitude cheaper?

      Musk mentioned that the launch cost exceeds the build cost for the satellites - so less than $1m per bird, which makes sense. These are live-fast-die-young LEO birds (particularly the first couple of launches, which are semi-experimental and not really expected to support main production duties - this block don't have inter-sat comms for instance - they're just Ground-to-Ground relays), not GEO sats with a decade working life. They're working on the principle of volume-production for expendable platforms. Evidently the TCO calculation on running less-efficient Krypton wins out.

      It'll be interesting to see if they run Xenon for any part of the constellation - a block of slightly higher/longer-lived birds for instance.

  3. DJV Silver badge

    "A number of websites for non-central government websites are now inaccessible to IE and Edge users on Windows 10"

    So, it's not really affecting that many people then...

    1. red floyd

      I'm a Yank, but I came here to say something similar.. I was going to say, "How can they tell?"

  4. rg287 Silver badge

    Throwing away that first stage would potentially allow SpaceX to pack even more satellites onto the Falcon 9.

    Is that just an assumption based on the fact F9 can lob a few more tonnes in expendable mode?

    F9 is fundamentally overpowered - the volume-mass ratio of it's fairing is relatively poor - if you need to lob a heavier load you can, but you'll probably be constrained by volume first. Structural limitations reduce the scope for a longer/taller "stretched" fairing - F9 is a modern, efficient but structurally dainty rocket - unlike it's ICBM-derived cohorts

    As it is, the 60 Starlink satellites are a very tight fit inside the fairing. The general consensus was that 30-40 would be good going. You won't fit more than 60 in unless you make the satellites physically smaller in volume terms. Weight limitations have nothing to do with it.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Came here to say this. F9 and FH have a relatively small fairing compared to the throw weight of the rocket (especially FH). This means in this case the number of satellites is limited by the fairing volume, not the weight. Though, if they try they might be able to squeeze a few more into the cone shaped area at the top if they were so inclined. I'm guessing trying to put in like 6 extra is just more trouble than it's worth if you are already slinging 60 of them into orbit at a time.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "I'm guessing trying to put in like 6 extra is just more trouble than it's worth if you are already slinging 60 of them into orbit at a time."

        Unless you are planning many launches to deploy 100's of them, with relatively regular refresh launches, then those 6 or so extra per launch might save an entire launch or three.

  5. hplasm Silver badge
    Devil

    Wnat's the difference between Starlink and Windows 10?

    One of them is 'triple checked' before launching <on> updated software...

    The other one... not so much.

  6. Dizmoduck

    why why Windows for god sake!

    are you madman or what

    In system operate 24/7 on criterial infrastructure you bloody use Linux

  7. Doctor Evil

    Updates

    From TFA: "Just ask the unfortunates still using Windows XP."

    Reading the paragraphs immediately following that with respect to the delightfully extended update adventures of (some) Windows 10 users, I'd say the "install once and forget about it" update experience under Windows XP Embedded (POS Ready) looks fairly attractive. But ... progress!

  8. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Win 10 update

    said update has failed to install for me a few times now...

  9. Francis Boyle Silver badge
    Headmaster

    "Once in orbit, Musk boasted that the power generated by the satellites will generate more power than the arrays of the International Space Station"

    Musk's in orbit. He must be happy. Okay, I've added the appropriate icon.

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