During the launch of its latest batch of internet-beaming Starlink satellites, SpaceX revealed key details about the planned constellation’s abilities, claiming that the satellites have shown “super low latency and download speeds greater than 100 mbps.” The speeds are still not as fast as what SpaceX originally claimed for the constellation, but they are slightly faster than what early user testing has shown.
Starlink is SpaceX’s ambitious plan to launch nearly 12,000 satellites into low orbits around Earth in order to provide broadband coverage to the ground below. Users of the system are meant to tap into the constellation using personal antennas on the ground, what SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has described as looking like a “UFO on a stick.” Early photos of the device have been revealed in the source code of SpaceX’s Starlink website.
After today’s launch, SpaceX has put more than 700 satellites in orbit, more than the 400 needed to provide “initial operational capability,” according to Musk, and close to the 800 needed to provide “significant operational capabilities.” This summer, SpaceX began early beta testing of the constellation, with employees using Starlink to test out the download speeds. “The Starlink team has been collecting latency statistics and performing standard speed tests of the system,” Kate Tice, senior program reliability engineer at SpaceX, said during the launch broadcast today. “This means that we’re checking how fast data travels from the satellites to our customers, and then back to the rest of the internet. Initial results have been good.”
Tice stated that the download speeds were greater than 100 megabytes per second (MBps), while SpaceX’s Twitter account repeated that claim. The statement seemed to be an error, though, as SpaceX then deleted the tweet to clarify that the download speeds were actually 100 megabits per second (Mbps). Tice also said the latency speeds have been “low enough to play the fastest online video games, and our download speed is fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once and still have bandwidth to spare.”
It sounds impressive, but it’s still not quite the gigabit speeds that SpaceX promised in its original filing with the Federal Communications Commission. SpaceX noted in the filing that it would need to deploy its first full constellation of more than 4,400 satellites to get up to those speeds. Tice also clarified that there is still a lot of work to be done with Starlink, too. “Our network, of course, is very much a work in progress,” she said. “And over time, we will continue to add features to unlock the full capability of that network.”
The 100 Mbps speeds are also slightly more impressive than what early tests have shown through Ookla’s speedtest.net tool, a service designed to test download and upload speeds. In mid-August, Reddit users posted tests from supposed beta testers using the Starlink constellation who were receiving average download speeds of between 11 Mbps and 60 Mbps. Such speeds are on the low end compared to traditional broadband internet, although they may still be faster than speeds currently available in many rural areas of the US. SpaceX does hope to roll out the Starlink service to rural or hard-to-reach areas where even lower speeds might be an improvement of the status quo.
Still, demonstrating faster speeds is going to be key for SpaceX, as it’s vying for funds from an FCC auction slated for October of this year. The FCC is offering up to $16 billion to companies that can help bring broadband services to “over six million homes and businesses in census blocks that are entirely unserved by voice and broadband.” And the FCC is looking for downloads speeds of at least 25 Mbps, with upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps.
SpaceX claims that it has just achieved a big breakthrough with its Starlink satellites that could help with data sharing. During the webcast, Tice noted that SpaceX had successfully tested two satellites in orbit that had inter-satellite links, “space lasers” that allowed the satellites to transfer “hundreds of gigabytes of data” between the two spacecraft. Prior to launching its first Starlink satellites, SpaceX said that all of its satellites would have inter-satellite links like the one demonstrated recently. “Once the space lasers are fully deployed, Starlink will be one of the fastest options available to transfer data around the world,” Tice said.
In the meantime, SpaceX is about to open up public beta testing. Interested users can sign up through the company’s Starlink website, providing their email and address to see if they qualify for the program. In an FAQ found in the source code of the Starlink website, SpaceX said that beta testing would focus first on rural communities in Washington, expanding to the northern United States and southern Canada. Public beta tests should provide better real-world results than these early beta tests, though users will likely have to sign nondisclosure agreements, according to SpaceX’s original source code. “You may NOT discuss your participation in the Beta Program online or with those outside of your household, unless they are SpaceX employees,” the website’s FAQ stated.
Scientist Shows There Are Two Ways to Measure a Day on Earth – The Union Journal
How long does it take Earth to complete a 360-degree rotation? Not quite 24 hours, it turns out – it’s precisely 23 hours and 56 minutes.
But because Earth is constantly moving along its orbit around the Sun, a different point on the planet faces the Sun directly at the end of that 360-degree spin.
For the Sun to reach the exact same position in the sky, Earth has to rotate 1 degree further.
That’s how humans have chosen to measure days: not by the Earth’s exact rotation, but the position of the Sun in the sky.
Technically, these are two different types of day. A day measured by the completion of a 360-degree rotation is called the sidereal day.
A day based on the position of the Sun, however, is a solar day. The latter is four minutes longer than the former, making the even 24 hours we’re used to.
“It’s only because we move around the Sun in an orbit that the solar day takes 24 hours,” James O’Donoghue, a planetary scientist at the Japanese space agency (JAXA), told Business Insider.
“If we didn’t orbit the Sun, both days would be the same.”
He made the below animation to show how this works.
Because we go by solar days in our calendars, we count 365 days in a year. But Earth actually completes a full rotation (a sidereal day) 366 times per year.
O’Donoghue describes the difference between these two types of day as a matter of choosing which background object we use as a basis of comparison for Earth’s rotation. A full rotation relative to the position of the Sun is a solar day. A full rotation relative to all the other stars we see is a sidereal day.
If we used the sidereal day instead, “the Sun would rise about four minutes earlier every day,” O’Donoghue said. “After six months of doing this, the Sun would be rising 12 hours earlier.”
He added: “We’ve decided to tie our daily rhythm to the Sun, not the stars. In fact, the stars rise about four minutes earlier every day because of our choice.”
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
More from Business Insider:
Scientist Shows There Are Two Ways to Measure a Day on Earth – Armenian Reporter
How long does it take Earth to total a 360-degree rotation? Not rather 24 hr, it ends up – it’s specifically 23 hours and 56 minutes.
But due to the fact that Earth is continuously moving along its orbit around the Sun, a various point on the world deals with the Sun straight at the end of that 360-degree spin.
For the Sun to reach the specific very same position in the sky, Earth has to turn 1 degree even more.
That’s how human beings have actually selected to measure days: not by the Earth’s specific rotation, however the position of the Sun in the sky.
Technically, these are two various kinds of day. A day determined by the conclusion of a 360-degree rotation is called the sidereal day.
A day based on the position of the Sun, nevertheless, is a solar day. The latter is 4 minutes longer than the previous, making the even 24 hr we’re utilized to.
“It’s only because we move around the Sun in an orbit that the solar day takes 24 hours,” James O’Donoghue, a planetary scientist at the Japanese area company (JAXA), informed Business Insider.
“If we didn’t orbit the Sun, both days would be the same.”
He made the below animation to demonstrate how this works.
Because we pass solar days in our calendars, we count 365 days in a year. But Earth in fact finishes a complete rotation (a sidereal day) 366 times each year.
O’Donoghue explains the distinction in between these two kinds of day as a matter of picking which background item we utilize as a basis of contrast for Earth’s rotation. A complete rotation relative to the position of the Sun is a solar day. A complete rotation relative to all the other stars we see is a sidereal day.
If we utilized the sidereal day rather, “the Sun would rise about four minutes earlier every day,” O’Donoghue stated. “After six months of doing this, the Sun would be rising 12 hours earlier.”
He included: “We’ve decided to tie our daily rhythm to the Sun, not the stars. In fact, the stars rise about four minutes earlier every day because of our choice.”
This short article was initially released by Business Insider.
More from Business Insider:
Science Saturday 0919 – CGTN
In this week’s Science Saturday, we look at science news ranging from possible signs of life on Venus to wildlife protection.
Scientists detect gas in Venus clouds linked to life on Earth
First, evidence of potential for life on the planet next door! A smelly, flammable gas called “phosphine” has been found on Venus. Here on Earth, phosphine is produced predominantly by anaerobic biological sources. So with this discovery, there’s a chance that there are some living organisms in the clouds of Venus. But scientists say further observations and modeling are needed to explore the origin of the gas in the planet’s atmosphere. The findings are published in the peer-reviewed journal – Nature Astronomy.
Washington bans TikTok downloads from U.S. app stores
Washington has announced a decision to ban TikTok downloads from app stores in the United States. Donald Trump, the U.S. president, is questioning plans by Chinese tech firm, ByteDance, to keep a majority stake in TikTok’s U.S. operations as part of a partnership deal with Oracle. Trump says any agreement to continue operating in U.S. must be “100% as far as national security is concerned.” He has called the popular video-sharing app a security threat, and says he will ban it unless it’s sold by ByteDance.
WWF report: Wildlife populations down by an average of 68 percent over past four decades
The world’s wildlife population is under threat! A new report by the World Wildlife Fund says human activity has wiped out two-thirds of the world’s wildlife since 1970. Latin America and the Caribbean are the world’s worst-affected areas, which have seen an average drop of 94 percent. The report says humans’ over-exploitation of wildlife, grassland conversion and climate change are among the major drivers of this devastating decline. Researchers are calling for changes in production and consumption patterns of food and energy, increased conservation efforts and a global collective effort.
Winners of Breakthrough Prizes announced for 2021
The winners of the 2021 Oscars of Science, also known as Breakthrough Prizes, have been revealed. Eight scientists have been recognized for their achievements in Mathematics, Fundamental Physics and Life Sciences. One of the recipients is David Baker, whose team designed a molecule that potentially inhabits the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The team also successfully synthesized the proteins, which demonstrated a neutralizing antibody, shedding light on a potential new treatment to the disease. The prizes total 21 million U.S. dollars. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, this year’s ceremony has been postponed until March 2021.
“Science Saturday” is part of CGTN’s science and technology series “Tech It Out.” The segment brings you the latest news about innovations and technological breakthroughs in the past two weeks from across the world.
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