7 thoughts on “Yet Another Broadband Constellation”

  1. What’s going to be interesting later is how SpaceX and Amazon will react to Chinese demands that the satellite networks conform to Chinese censorship standards, and similar concerns will probably come from New Zealand, Britain, and other EU countries that lack First Amendment speech protections.

    I would respond with “Welcome to America, baby! Those are US satellites and speech filters add too much dead weight.” But if Google or Facebook were running a constellation then yeah, a non-socialist thought wouldn’t get within a hundred miles of the Chinese border.

    You could build in a wall between the data handling and the satellites’ geographic location data to create a reason why the network can’t police content country by country, but I suspect the Pentagon will insist that such abilities be baked in at some level so they can prevent enemy forces from using satellite Skype for tactical communications or weapon control.

  2. Someone should model the debris field and lifetime and debris free routes to space if some bad actor decided to pummel these contellations.

    1. I don’t think anyone would bother to target constellations that will sum to many thousands of satellites (about 11,927 just for Starlink) because the cost/benefit won’t hold up. Even if you shoot down hundreds of them, their utility would hardly be affected because they’re highly redundant. Customers might suffer a short drop out, at worst.

      Yet each shoot down would probably require an individual interceptor making a ground launch because the satellites will be too far apart for a direct-ascent multiple warhead attack.

      So, each Starlink weight 386 kg, and you could put 35 on a Falcon 9FT in reusable mode, which would be a payload mass of 13,510 kg. At $62 million a launch, that comes to $1.77 million per satellite, for a total system launch cost of $21.1 billion.

      If you used a Navy Std Missile 3 to attack them, you’d spend about $18 million per shot, and thus $18 million per targeted satellite, which is ten times more than the satellite cost to launch. To seriously degrade the network, to the point where it’s hardly useful, you’d have to eliminate most of the satellites, so the attack would cost about $100 billion.

      Nobody has that kind of budget.

      1. And at what point does it become too dangerous to push manned flights through the debris cloud? Given NASA’s aversion to risk.

        1. Oh, I wouldn’t worry much about that because most of the risk comes from the smaller pieces in low orbit. Those may take ten years to burn up, but it takes NASA longer than that to get a new ship ready anyway.

      2. You wouldn’t necessarily need to use missiles and taking out enough could cause enough debris to take out more/most. The debris field may not last long but it could prevent replacing capabilities in NEO, LEO, and GEO long enough to allow a bad actor to do some major terrestrial damage.

        It isn’t something to be overly concerned of now but it will be as time goes on.

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