back to article SpaceX's Elon Musk high on success after counting '420' Starlinks in orbit and Frosty the Starship survives cryo test

Hello, Starlink. SpaceX launched and landed another Falcon 9, Russia sent its next freighter to the ISS and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk celebrated failing to explode the latest Starship in the latest space-tastic news roundup. First off, the fourth Starship full-scale prototype stayed standing following a cryogenic proof test on …

  1. SJA

    When will Starlink become operational?

    When will Stralink become operational? My inlaws have crappy internet access. Best ist over shaky 3G :(

    1. Dvon of Edzore

      Re: When will Starlink become operational?

      Outside the US, talk to your government. Inside the US it will start testing with SpaceX and Tesla employees later this year.

    2. Brangdon Bronze badge

      Re: When will Starlink become operational?

      Private beta in 3 months, public beta in 6, for higher latitudes in North America.

      1. SJA

        Re: When will Starlink become operational?

        Thanks :) Inlaws are in the Philippines... they pay like $60 now for really crappy internet.. it's unlimited 3G but often no service or very slow :(

      2. Drew Scriver Bronze badge

        Re: When will Starlink become operational?

        Any word on the actual latitudes? The most specific information I have seen so far is "Berlin". But that's farther north than the highest latitudes of the contiguous USA.

        Hopefully Musk was not referring to Alaska when he said, "northern USA"...

        1. James Haley 2

          Re: When will Starlink become operational?

          Here's a visualization of the coverage with 396 satellites.

          https://youtu.be/k73AFybi7zk?t=150

          Here's the coverage with 792 satellites.

          https://youtu.be/k73AFybi7zk?t=302

          I'm at 45 north, we're right on southern edge of early coverage. My guess is Alaska is too far north, with Anchorage on the northern edge.

    3. rcxb Silver badge

      Re: When will Starlink become operational?

      Get them a proper directional antenna, and mount it on a pole as high up as practical. Avoid obstructions (trees) directly between it and the direction of the cellular signal.

    4. Starace
      Flame

      Re: When will Starlink become operational?

      3 months maybe, 6 months definitely.

      Never heard that *exact* promise from Musk before, oh no. Usually translates into 'never'.

      Other news isn't pointing to a lot of functionality being available soon beyond something very minimal.

  2. IGotOut Silver badge

    This may be a really obvious question.

    But who is this very expensive internet connection aimed at?

    I would of thought the monthly bills on this link are going to be pretty high.

    1. Vulch

      Re: This may be a really obvious question.

      Guesses have said $80 a month, Elon has mentioned $90 recently. Aimed at anyone with no sensible broadband.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: This may be a really obvious question.

        So, your average Tanzanian or Bangladeshi villager then?

        1. Drew Scriver Bronze badge

          Re: This may be a really obvious question.

          It has been suggested that subscribers in the third world will be able to sign up at deeply discounted rates, subsidized by the subscribers in wealthy countries.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: This may be a really obvious question.

            >subsidized by the subscribers in wealthy countries.

            Subsidized by the satellites being useless to American subscribers when they are over Africa, and with the cost being in the construction and launch the marginal cost of allowing a link in Africa is small

        2. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: This may be a really obvious question.

          No, your average American who doesn't like within a major metro area (and quite a few who do). Not to mention those Brits who live inside the M25 yet can't get sensible speeds due to weird EO lines - or those in rural areas who BT confidently claim can access "superfast fibre broadband", but can't get better than 2Mb down on account of being >2miles from the cabinet.

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: This may be a really obvious question.

            I'm three miles from the cabinet, so BT gave me fibre to the house. And very nice it is too.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This may be a really obvious question.

            My brother lives in rural Herefordshire. ADSL is <1MB, no chance of fibre or cable, so he's got a 4G connection instead, and it's actually quite good. about 6MB down, and 1 up, which means it's quite usable.

            Having line of sight to the nearest tower helps, although I am surprised that his girlfriend hasn't objected to "the radiation". She's got a tendency to believe everything she sees on facebook, so I wouldn't be surprised if she's another '5G == cornavirus' brigade. Most likely she hasn't realised where their internet comes from ;)

        3. Imhotep

          Re: This may be a really obvious question.

          Or a good deal of the rural US - especially the west.

      2. Stuart 22

        Re: This may be a really obvious question.

        I presume the pizza box receiver will distribute the connection by wifi, Hence $90 per unconnected village in the developing world could look attractive compared to building 3/4/5G infrastructure. Especially if the government/NGO buys in bulk and/or subsidises.

        Bundled with a free solar panel powered Tesla battery bank?

    2. Brangdon Bronze badge

      Re: This may be a really obvious question.

      It's aimed at people in rural areas who don't already have cable or equivalent. It can't serve many people within a given area, so won't be for people in cities. Price is expected to be around $80/month. Even if it is higher, it's not expected to be ludicrously expensive.

    3. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: This may be a really obvious question.

      The obvious answer is existing satellite internet customers (aircraft, ships, and people unable to get fixed line or 3/4/5G mobile internet).

      Apparently the military are also interested. Also (once inter-satellite links, whether laser or radio or microwave are available) financial institutions may use it - the latency could be better than cables, allowing superior arbitrage to competitors, etc. (at least until we have through-planet neutrino communication).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This may be a really obvious question.

        "through-planet neutrino communication"

        Is that really a thing?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: This may be a really obvious question.

          >"through-planet neutrino communication"

          >Is that really a thing?

          Transmitter = yes

          Receiver = no

          So 50% of target achieved

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This may be a really obvious question.

            Well, receivers have been demonstrated already. They require massive underground caverns and have *ridiculously* low sensitivity rates, though.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: This may be a really obvious question.

              Wait till the 5g nutters find out about neutrinos

    4. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: This may be a really obvious question.

      "monthly bills on this link are going to be pretty high"

      The word you're looking for is "astronomical"

      1. MiguelC Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: This may be a really obvious question.

        is that the same as sky-high?

        1. tfb Silver badge

          Re: This may be a really obvious question.

          No: it's higher than the sky.

    5. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: This may be a really obvious question.

      I certainly plan on trying it out when out on the water -- I haven't dug into it but it would be a wonderful addition to the boat.

    6. mathew42
      Happy

      Re: This may be a really obvious question.

      Your average Australian living in rural areas and stuck on NBN's slow 300ms+ service will be very excited about a Starlink connection with 30ms latency. This should enable usable video conferencing including tele-health. It would probably be cheaper for NBNCo to subsidise Starlink connections than continue to pay operatining costs of the SkyMuster satellites.

      I suspect grey-nomads and families taking a break to travel around Australia will be pretty excited as it should be trivial to attach an antenna to the caravan. Today caravans are configured with Foxtel satellite TV receivers, so I consider this very likely.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: This may be a really obvious question.

        Does Murdoch still own cable companies in oz?

        In which case I suspect this will be banned there because of <tabloid scare of the day>

  3. Chris the bean counter

    Would China, North Korea be scared of starlink ?

    Would it be able to circumvent censorship and if so would china be able to jam signals of satellites when overhead? I understand that even if it could circumvent few would bother and they can mostly already use VPNs but every little helps

    1. mathew42
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Would China, North Korea be scared of starlink ?

      Governments will be concerned by small size of Starlink receivers making it easy to conceal.

      Those governments that tax telecommunications heavily will be worried about loss of revenue.

      I expect that China will request that Starlink don't broadcast over China and mention something about the Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Would China, North Korea be scared of starlink ?

      They could play a real-life version of Space Invaders.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: Would China, North Korea be scared of starlink ?

        They could play a real-life version of Space Invaders.

        There's a good argument that Starlink satellites cost Musk less than the cost of the missiles to shoot them down. Plus he could put up even cheaper decoy ones.

        Does anyone know the cost of the charges for that chemical laser the US had flying around on a 747? Which would seem the better bet - and much more in the spirit of Space Invaders anyway.

        Then Musk would have to built satellites capable of firing back...

        Anyway, I guess jamming the radio frequencies would be a lot easier and cheaper. Just more boring.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Would China, North Korea be scared of starlink ?

          "Then Musk would have to built satellites capable of firing back..."

          No need, just make the bottom into a retro-reflecting mirror :)

          (Although that would make it worse for astronomers)

  4. genghis_uk
    Holmes

    417 - 420?

    I can understand why Musk could get confused by the numbers - 420 on the brain?

    Don't Bogart that Sherlock -->

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perfect Timing for Bypassing Great Firewall of China

    Delivering uncensored Internet to China is a worthy goal

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Perfect Timing for Bypassing Great Firewall of China

      Musk's goal is making money.

      If there's more profit in delivering uncensored internet to China than he'd lose due to pissing off the Chinese government then he'll do it. However, I suspect the big Tesla factory he's building in China will mean that he's not going to risk pissing off the government there.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020