Jan 23 2015

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Elon Musk is an information machine

He put out tons of new info at an invite-only soiree in Seattle such as

  • SpaceX plans to build 4000(!) comms satellites out of their new Seattle plant.
  • He won’t even consider making SpaceX public until after a Mars colony is established and they’re making regular trips there.
  • The satellite constellation has not been named yet, but frequency filings have been made with the ITU. It’s unclear at this time at what frequency band for which SpaceX has filed.
  • The satellites will orbit at about 1100 km (interesting…that means they’ll be exposed to significantly more radiation there than if they were a 100 or so km lower)
  • There is more profit in satellites than in launch services.

    “This is intended to be a significant amount of revenue and to help fund a city on Mars,” Musk said. “Looking at the long term, what’s needed to create a city on Mars? Well, one thing’s for sure – a lot of money. So we need things that will generate a lot of money.”

  • Each satellite will weigh several hundred kg each, and will use Hall-effect ion-electric thrusters for in-orbit maneuvering. The Seattle plant will build its own thrusters.
  • User terminals will have phased array antenna and should cost between $100 and $300.
  • Comms will not include the polar regions (that means an inclination of less than…say…65 degrees. Besides the fact that there’s a much smaller comms market in the Polar regions, I wonder what else engineering-wise went into this decision?)

We’re really talking about something which is, in the long term, like rebuilding the Internet in space,” Musk said. “The goal will be to have the majority of long-distance Internet traffic go over this network and about 10 percent of local consumer and business traffic. So 90 percent of people’s local access will still come from fiber but we’ll do about 10 percent business to consumers directly, and more than half of the long-distance traffic.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/01/23/elon-musk-is-an-information-machine/

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