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TerreStar Launches World's Largest Telecom Satellite

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the bigger-they-are-the-harder-hey-wait-a-sec dept.

Communications 57

An anonymous reader sends news that TerreStar-1, the largest satellite ever made for the purpose of telecommunications, successfully launched earlier this week from a European spaceport. Its launch weight was 6,910 kg, and it is "distinguished by a giant, 60-foot (18-meter) wide S-band antenna that will be unfurled in the coming weeks. Once the satellite's two solar wings are deployed, TerreStar-1 is expected to have a wingspan of about 106 feet (32.4 meters). ... It is designed to provide mobile voice and data communications in North America to smartphone-size handsets using the 2-gigahertz, or S-band, portion of the radio spectrum. The system is designed to function with a network of ground-based signal amplifiers to permit service in areas the satellite cannot reach, such as urban canyons and areas outside the line-of-sight view of the spacecraft." Video and details of the launch are available from the ESA.

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Don't tell the RIAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28580897)

MediaSentry records may suggest that Jammie Thomas launched the Terrea Star satellite in order to "make available" more music. This is good news. For record industry lawyers.

Smeone's been drinking too much Red Bull ... (2, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580917)

Once the satellite's two solar wings are deployed, TerreStar-1 is expected to have a wingspan of about 106 feet

Satellites aren't like kotex - they don't have wings. Even drinking Red Bull won't change that.

Re:Smeone's been drinking too much Red Bull ... (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581199)

If you're going to call something on an absorbent pad a wing because it bears a passing resemblance to a real wing then you shouldn't have a problem calling satellite solar panels wings - they look much more like real wings.

Re:Someone's been drinking too much Red Bull ... (0)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28587879)

If you're going to call something on an absorbent pad a wing because it bears a passing resemblance to a real wing then you shouldn't have a problem calling satellite solar panels wings - they look much more like real wings.

Next you're going to say that Red Bull does give you wings ... it doesn't ... same as sanitary napkins don't have wings either ... just like the satellite doesn't have a "wingspan".

"from a European spaceport" (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580919)

No. From a South American spaceport. As far as I know there are no spaceports in Europe. Though you *could* call it a French spaceport...

Re:"from a European spaceport" (2, Interesting)

mazevedo (117804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581089)

I think it was intended to sound like an European site (it's true, ESA is European, not just French), like when you refer to the American Base at Okinawa, and not the Japanese Base at Okinawa.

Re:"from a European spaceport" (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581419)

> ...like when you refer to the American Base at Okinawa...

Yes. "From a European Space Agency spaceport in South America" would have been ok.

Re:"from a European spaceport" (0)

mazevedo (117804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581995)

Touché!

Re:"from a European spaceport" (3, Insightful)

myrrdyn (562078) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581099)

Uh, French Guiana is part of the French Republic and is part of European Union... so it's a South American territory of the European Union.
Politics vs. Geography 1 - 0 :-)

Re:"from a European spaceport" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581149)

Really? I'm in the EU and didn't know that. Does that mean I can just toddle off to French Guiana on a whim like I can to France? (travel costs permitting, of course, much like an american in new york visiting florida).

Re:"from a European spaceport" (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581303)

I'm in the EU and didn't know that. Does that mean I can just toddle off to French Guiana on a whim like I can to France? (travel costs permitting, of course, much like an american in new york visiting florida).

Good question, one I also was interested in and had to look up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area [wikipedia.org]

Oversea territories are exempted from the Schengen treaty for a number of countries. This includes French Guiana.

Re:"from a European spaceport" (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585699)

true so you may need a passport (it seems some EU travellers can use thier ID cards) but from a quick search it seems that most first world citizens will not need a visa for short trips and EU citizens generally will not need one at all unless they plan to work there.

Re:"from a European spaceport" (3, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581381)

European Union != Europe.

Re:"from a European spaceport" (1)

myrrdyn (562078) | more than 5 years ago | (#28586271)

European Union != Europe.

I was assuming that "European" can have the same meaning of "pertaining European Union",
so "European spaceport" = "European Union's spaceport"

Re:"from a European spaceport" (1)

igny (716218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583989)

Remember Louisiana was once European, and Alaska was Asian. It took quite a bit of cash to restore the continental integrity.

Re:"from a European spaceport" (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584305)

There are at least two spaceports in continental Europe - one in the northern areas of Sweden, one in Russia (Plesetsk Cosmodrome).

And IMHO, as somebody fed up slightly with "polish concentration camps" you hear now and then in the news, I think that calling it European spaceport is fine. So is "European spaceport in French Guiana / South America" (even better, but slightly too long)

"I am Terrestar!" (1, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580925)

"Run! Run! Run!"

"Beware, coward!" "I hunger!"

Re:"I am Terrestar!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581087)

Beware! I live!

Line of Sight? (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580949)

LOS will be lost in most of any downtown urban region. Tall skyscrapers eat signals, film at 11. And under bridges. Or inside. Anything beamed from geosyncronous orbit's going to be very weak. How do you think it'll work reaching into a staircase in a 50 story skyscraper? Or in a grocery store? S-Band is the same band WiFi uses, and you need a pringles can to get more than a mile. What do you think the signal attenuation's going to be on something 26,200 miles away? O.o

Yeah. Ground based relay stations. You're gonna need 'em.

Re:Line of Sight? (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580999)

Given that the handsets will be small and powered by something less than an unlicensed proton accelerator pack, anytime you walk away from LOS of the sky - you'll be reliant on ground based relay stations.

Then again, if this type of technology is deployed along with standard cellular based modes of communication - it could offer seamless transitions from local cellular, voip over wifi, and satellite based communication - ensuring no dead zones, except for a few brain cells.

Re:Line of Sight? (3, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581311)

it could offer seamless transitions from local cellular, voip over wifi, and satellite based communication

I've used portable satcom equipment before, and I guarantee the transition won't be seamless. When your conversation switches from terrestrial antenna (1 mile) to geostationary relay (44K mile round trip), you are able to discern a subtle change and conversational timing when the latency goes up to HALF A FUCKING SECOND.

Re:Line of Sight? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581073)

"Ground based relay stations" = Cell Towers.... The only time it would actually rely on the satellite is when GSM/EGRPS (850, 900, 1800, 1900) is not available. (It also appears that WCDMA is also supported) http://www.terrestar.com/inc/pdf/TerreStar-Spec-Sheet-2009.pdf

Re:Line of Sight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28595627)

"S-Band is the same band WiFi uses, and you need a pringles can to get more than a mile." ...at 30mW transmit power, with a not very scientifically designed antenna. I'm pretty sure rocket scientists and the people who design satellites aren't going to put something that big in orbit if it is useless.

It's so large (2, Funny)

product byproduct (628318) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581015)

it was cheaper to launch the Earth in the other direction.

Re:It's so large (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581117)

No, they just rolled your mom down Everest the other way...

Interesting Market (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581041)

Many people are wondering wtf would anyone use this for... and interestingly enough I was just watching a news report that was describing why ranchers out in the middle of nowhere were against the US government's upcoming law that may require them to tag and track every beef cattle during its travel from the birth canal to the slaughter house. Most ranchers said they have no way of uploading tagging and tracking data when out in the middle of their 1000 acre land, and would cause most small beef producers to go out of business because they couldn't be compliant with the law.

Problem solved with this solution. Hand held scanners, satellite based data relays - done.

Re:Interesting Market (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581109)

Many people are wondering wtf would anyone use this for... and interestingly enough I was just watching a news report that was describing why ranchers out in the middle of nowhere were against the US government's upcoming law that may require them to tag and track every beef cattle during its travel from the birth canal to the slaughter house. Most ranchers said they have no way of uploading tagging and tracking data when out in the middle of their 1000 acre land, and would cause most small beef producers to go out of business because they couldn't be compliant with the law.

Their arguments were all straw-man arguments. For the one you cite, they could have scanned, then uploaded the data when they returned to the homestead. Onoe of their other arguments was that they couldn't get the cattle into a truck with one hand and hold the scanner with the other - also a straw man - you can just hang the RFID tag reader on the truck's ramp and let it read the tags as the cattle enter the truck - but a 5-cent zip tie or a strip of duct-tape is unthinkable.

Re:Interesting Market (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581357)

you can just hang the RFID tag reader on the truck's ramp and let it read the tags as the cattle enter the truck

I want to live in your magical world where handheld RFID scanners just need to be pointed in the general direction of the tags and can be depended on to catch 100% of the tags without human supervision.

I suspect you are lumping all RFID reader products into the same category as the large, stationary units like Wal-Mart uses to scan pallet-loads of stuff at once. Portable units are generally not that far above a barcode scanner. The cattle ranchers' issues are legitimate.

Re:Interesting Market (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581837)

I want to live in your magical world where handheld RFID scanners just need to be pointed in the general direction of the tags and can be depended on to catch 100% of the tags without human supervision.

You're already in it. Hand-held readers for active tags have a range of 150 feet. [morerfid.com]

From the product blurb:

Savi's tags and readers include large data capacity, choke point location capabilities (door, gate, etc.), programmability as long as the reader-tag link is "solid", and 3-7 year battery life, depending on tag type, usage, and environment.

Read range can exceed 300 feet though our guaranteed range is 300 feet for most applications. Readers are omni-directional so that this should be interpreted as 300 feet radius which provides a coverage circle of 600 feet diameter.

We also provide handheld readers with range capability up to 150 feet.

Our EchoPoint tags can be used at a door (including dock doors) or at a 15-20 foot wide access gate with passing speeds up to 40 MPH with multiple tags in the field and at higher speed when only a few tags are present on a vehicle and or trailer or shipping containe

So unless the cattle is moving at more than 40MPH when they're being running up the ramp into the back of the truck, they can be read by a handheld unit.

Or if you want passive hand-helds - this one is good for 3' [alibaba.com] .

Other portables: This one does 3' to 10' (adjustable) [alibaba.com] , and another one that does 6' [alibaba.com] , so what's your beef?

Re:Interesting Market (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581371)

Many people are wondering wtf would anyone use this for... and interestingly enough I was just watching a news report that was describing why ranchers out in the middle of nowhere were against the US government's upcoming law that may require them to tag and track every beef cattle during its travel from the birth canal to the slaughter house. Most ranchers said they have no way of uploading tagging and tracking data when out in the middle of their 1000 acre land, and would cause most small beef producers to go out of business because they couldn't be compliant with the law.

Their arguments were all straw-man arguments. For the one you cite, they could have scanned, then uploaded the data when they returned to the homestead. Onoe of their other arguments was that they couldn't get the cattle into a truck with one hand and hold the scanner with the other - also a straw man - you can just hang the RFID tag reader on the truck's ramp and let it read the tags as the cattle enter the truck - but a 5-cent zip tie or a strip of duct-tape is unthinkable.

Or maybe they realize that not forcing the cattle to cannibalize each other would accomplish a great deal more towards food safety (or whatever this law was supposed to accomplish) than yet another centralized database tracking system?

NAIS (5, Informative)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581859)

NAIS eventually will apply to all livestock, even chickens. A ten cent tag would add considerably to the cost (the labor, plus the cost of the tag, think 25,000 cluckers per house, times many houses, and that's just one farm, with a brand new flock every 8 weeks or so..it would start to add up quick. I have no idea how they would read them fast as they got caught to go to the packing houses either. If you have ever watched how this is done you'd see why). It would wipe out the profit margin there (which usually is a few cents per bird for the grower if everything goes good, and no guarantees anymore what with mass commodities speculation and so forth), which is very slim today, so slim that a lot of the packing houses have closed facilities, it simply cost more to produce than what they can be sold for, and there are only a half a dozen or so big buyers in the US and they dictate the price. It's a cartel that would make the RIAA or MPAA proud...

As to the cattle, with those wild cattle, you have to physically catch each one out there and rope it down or something to install the tag, plus with every calf born, like in the olden days. Lotta work.. then try to get next to the calf later on, close enough to read the tag again? They split, they run like hell, they think they are like wild big deer or something, they are mostly wild, especially the frisky calves. I have a few beefers like that, almost impossible to get them into the barn. Most are OK with coming in to get a little corn, some are just wild, and a severe lack of trained horse here to go do some cowboy thing with a lasso... ;)...don't even know if I could do that, never tried really.. It can take me quite some time to get them all tamed up enough to be regular travelers into and out of the barn. Can't just snap some fingers and say "do it", and if they insist on that and push some huge fine per day or something..screw it, I just won't do it them, wouldn't be possible, couldn't take the chance on getting fined. You don't make very much anyway with this today, prices are abysmal compared to production costs, I know for me it is well below minimum rage if I look at hours worked, minus expenses of all sorts and what is left over. Not really sure how much less a lot of us are supposed to make in this economy and still stay in business, but it got rather dicey some time ago.

  There really is no reason to do this tagging-if at all really- until such a point as they are corralled up for transport and delivered to the auction or finishing lots, and they could be tagged there *much* easier once you have a string of them in the chute. And right there you get tied to the critter, so there's your tracking, this is already in place. They slap a number on them as soon as they are off your trailer. That the big processing plants get contaminated and run a million lbs production through without catching it...the tag in the critter will do *nothing* to stop that, not a dang thing, and once the cow is cut up, there's no individual tag per chunk 0 beaste, so they couldn't "track it back" anyway.

The whole idea is either pure dumb (clueless government make work busywork), or pure sinister (create a few big food monopolies), or both, not sure, but it's cuckoo.

    Cows are herd animals, it is actually loads easier to move a lot of them at once rather than one at a time. *Loads easier* Doing it out on the range would be a severe PITA, I can see why those big western ranchers are opposed to this when they have to deal with hundreds or thousands of cattle. The whole thing seems like it was thought up by some city dudes who never worked on a farm or ranch and think cows are like big stationary cabbages or something, or are all as tame as old dogs or something, or like berssie the moo cow on some TV commercial. That just isn't the case. Now dairy cows can get pretty tame eventually, they are moved in and out of the milking barn two or three times a day and have close human contact all the time, but beef cattle..nope, the best you get is a little less than totally wild, but not much, and they can get pretty big and pretty strong and can mess you up if you aren't careful.

    I have a few cows here that are docile enough..except the first week after they calve, then they get seriously ornery and don't want you anywhere *near* their new little baby. They'll ram you if you get too close..heck with that! Some are tame enough I go pet the calf and get some smell rubbed off on them so they get used to me, but can't do that with all of them, they are all individuals and act differently. Same with the bull, 90% of the time I can walk up to him and rub his nose or whatever, 10% of the time he would go nuts and want to stomp me, if there is a nearby cow in heat. Freekin dangerous, I learned real quick to stay real far away from him during those times.

If the government makes this sort of situation worse, yep, it will put a lot of smaller guys out of business, just won't be worth the hassle anymore, then you'll have fewer producers and much higher prices, guaranteed. It's like it is designed to just push a few big corporate outfits and eliminate all the smaller independent operations..hmm

    And also you'll get a higher probability of disease spread, because you'll have fewer herds, much larger herds, and they will compact them even more, make it the factory farming deal even more prevalent than it is today, just to deal with them easier. You'll have less free range beef and a lot more birth to slaughter pure feedlot action with all mill made feed. Now me, I prefer the normally grass/pasture fed beef, I know it is better quality, it certainly tastes better, and much less chance of contamination or disease spread.

Anyway, to you and everyone else, Happy 4th! We are having our homegrown beef on our grill (along with our own veggies) and celebrating being independent farmers today. Sorta old fashioned, hope we can keep doing it forever, even if the pay sucks. We have the Declaration of Independence, not the declaration of dependence.

Re:NAIS (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28587871)

and there are only a half a dozen or so big buyers in the US and they dictate the price. It's a cartel that would make the RIAA or MPAA proud...

what prevents a co-op from competing with the cartel?

It's like it is designed to just push a few big corporate outfits and eliminate all the smaller independent operations..hmm

All corporate regulation is designed by the incumbents, and accepted as a means to keep disruptive competition from emerging.

co-ops (2, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28588985)

You could to a limited degree, but the big buyers represent the fast food chains and the supermarkets, something like 95% or better of the market. You just have to have someplace to sell, else no reason to be a grower. Also you have to remember, the farmers/growers don't own the birds, ever, a few producers own that segment of the market (tyson,pilgrims pride, etc, a small handful), they are the ones who negotiate the contracts with the buyers cartels, because all of this is done at mass quantities levels. mass in a HUGE amount. So in other words, there are two cartels over the farmer/grower. The offered cash from any of the packers is roughly identical. The big buyers offer what they offer, that is almost identical all the time.

    Farmers/growers grow on a flock to flock contract basis, the baby birds are supplied, the feed is supplied (that costs directly), any other ancillary costs are picked up by the farmer, propane, electricity, water, etc, then they are harvested and you get paid so much for good bird. After expenses..a few pence per bird net profit, if *lucky* and the gods of the market have smiled that month. A lot of times, a net loss.

    The producers and packers run the packing plants, which are very expensive to license/build/operate, many millions. A small coop couldn't get up that sort of scratch and would be hard pressed to find anything but a teeny fragmented market.

  There are some smaller fully independent growers who have carved out extremely limited little niche markets, but that's about it, and the combination of federal laws and state laws (which vary widely) on how hard this is to do make it quite the challenge. It goes from hard to "OMG, why bother..."

    Here's another example about how this has been cartelized. If you go to buy a big farm, you won't even get a loan for it unless you have a contract in hand from some recognized producer/packer, and even if you have it cash, that's no guarantee you'll ever get a contract. You could theoretically pay 10 million cash for a small to medium farm and have some operating expenses in cash and still get stuck with a white elephant if you have no proven market upfront.

Another factor to consider is most big farmers/ranchers mindset..they HATE being organized, they don't like it, say the word union or coop and they want to draw a gun and start talking about hippie environmentalists and go on a rant. I've heard it from too many farmers to ignore, it's just reality, they been brainwashed way beyond the point of rationality about this. They are almost totally opposed to organizing in a cooperative fashion with each other (believe me, I thought of this and have brought it up before, a coop, etc), even if they keep getting screwed into bankruptcy by another "organization", the cartels, which they bitch about all the time. It seems an obvious solution but they simply will not do it, too "hippy" "communist" "socialist" "libruhl", and etc. I know I have to assume artificial redneckerson manners just to maintain in my community, it is camouflage. Bad enough I have a yankee accent...heh

Go figger, I long ago stopped trying to figure it out beyond "Stockholm Syndrome" seems to be hard coded in their psychology. Brainwashed deluxe by the big ag business boys and dudes like rush limbeau, that they listen to, and so on. Anything that seems to make sense "hey, how about doing some small scale alternative energy projects like this here.." NO! THAT HIPPY SHIT DON'T WORK!!

I gave up years ago, ain't worth it. A few are reasonable, most are just too boneheaded and will adopt being screwed over and over again as a lifestyle choice. Anything a few select pols and monsanto and a few other corps tell them, they take as gospel, end of story. Any chemical released is automatically safe as mommas milk. any seed with gene alteration, perfectly safe, never a problem, etc.

    You can point out dozens of things taken off the market after the fact of being proven too dangerous, never matter, implicit trust in the big chemical companies because they have been careful to "be on the side of the farmer" in Washington, and they obscure the fact they are the ones bankrupting them along with the buyers cartels, the wall street commodities flippers and the energy cartels. "Us versus them", most farmers are faked out they are part of "us" with the really big boys, the fatcats, they don't even grok they are one of the victims of the fatcats along with the end consumer. It's just the dang oddest thing... all I can say is generations of propaganda works quite well.

No lie, that's how it is.

Re:co-ops (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28614077)

Thanks for the detailed reply.

The producers and packers run the packing plants, which are very expensive to license/build/operate, many millions ... and the combination of federal laws and state laws (which vary widely) on how hard this is to do make it quite the challenge.

Ah, OK, now I'm understanding. It usually takes a government to enforce a cartel.

They are almost totally opposed to organizing in a cooperative fashion with each other (believe me, I thought of this and have brought it up before, a coop, etc), even if they keep getting screwed into bankruptcy by another "organization", the cartels, which they bitch about all the time. It seems an obvious solution but they simply will not do it, too "hippy" "communist" "socialist" "libruhl", and etc.

That's too bad. The dairy farmers around here seem to be surviving through their 'Cabot' cooperative. Not that a successful example can is going to un-brainwash most folks.

As a meat eater, I'd gladly pay, I dunno, 25 cents a pound more for chicken from your theoretical co-op. But my only choices now are factory chickens or free-range/organic/killed-while-listening-to-cello-music chickens at a 4x multiplier. If you could figure out the distribution model, a few smart farmers would join in on the action and be able to buy out the others.

Re:Interesting Market (1)

SlashWombat (1227578) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585247)

If we are to believe "media" hype (AKA The X-Files) Every cow in the world has already been fitted with a tracking transponder. (And an awful lot of humans as well!). So why not buy the data from them?

tereastarr? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581043)

How can she afford to launch a satellite (for pirate purposes, of course) after being dinged by the RIAA for over a million?

business need ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581093)

should we care ? this thing has no business need for its services.
ground based cells cover 99% of what everyone wants. for the rest there iridium.

Urban Canyons? (1)

hackel (10452) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581097)

Wow, are thy building cities into cliff faces now? That's so cool!

United Planets? (1)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581145)

I thought the United Planets council outlawed Terror Stars. Hmph.

Specs (2, Informative)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581205)

Link to the handset specs (PDF) [terrestar.com]

windows mobile and assorted normal windows smartphone apps, multiband (with the sat freqs, some GSM freqs, wifi, hifi, lowfi, french fri...), MicroSD, USB, 2.6 inch screen, qwerty keyboard, camera, plays some vids and tunes, etc. Basically a normal smartphone that also can do the satphone gig. No mention of cost or subscription plan cost that I could see on the site (might be there, just not seeing it easy). An interesting device and network idea, a little convergence there.

Re:Specs (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582257)

Well, they've got a miniaturized one that fits in a wristwatch and runs linux ... but the pizza-box antenna that comes with it is a bit of a downer ...

Anyone else misread the company as Tereastarr? (1)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581353)

For a second there, I thought the world's biggest music pirating satellite was launched.

Re:Anyone else misread the company as Tereastarr? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581655)

No, I misread it as "SkyNet". :-)

Re:Anyone else misread the company as Tereastarr? (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583639)

Did someone say "pirating?" ;^)

"That's the second biggest telcom satellite I've ever seen!"

(Now all we need is to send up the shuttle for the Q-tip docking maneuver.)

--
Toro

how many HD channels can this sent out? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581461)

how many HD channels can this sent out?

geostationary? (2, Interesting)

green1 (322787) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581537)

I thought the geostationary model for satellite phones had finally come to an end... the latency is just too high to comfortably carry on a conversation. The LEO satellite constellations are a much better way to work for a phone, the delays aren't really much more than a cell phone (apparently to the user). I've actually been looking forward to someone doing a LEO constellation for satellite broadband, it could finally make it useful. I've been quite impressed when using the Iridium network. Globalstar though has some work to do yet, too many holes in their constellation.

As others have pointed out though, Satellite alone has some major coverage problems (anywhere sheltered or indoors) but combined with the cell network this could be a powerful tool (though a pretty pricey one I bet!)

Re:geostationary? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585763)

The problem with LEO is it is f*cking expensive. With GEO you can put up one satellite with a high gain antenna aimed at your target market.

With LEO you need to put up a shitload of satellites and at any time most of them will be over areas with few users. You also need lots of very complex software to manage them and the handoffs between them.

That means you have to find a huge number of users from arround the world and do it quickly to avoid going bankrupt. Both Irridium and Globalstar went bankrupt! Irridium in 199 and Globalstar in 2002 (the networks were taken over in the bankrupcies and freed from the debt they aquired while building the networks became viable buisnesses under thier new ownership).

Now what we now need is.... (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581597)

beowulf cluster of these and i won't drive off that bridge onto the river again!! enough w/ suicidal GPSes, plz!!

Re:Now what we now need is.... (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28596035)

Every dead technology has those that cling to it. You must be the last Atmos user.

Geosynchronous orbit = lag (2, Interesting)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581739)

What market do they think they have for this? Unless you are out in the countryside away from any wireless coverage, why would you want to use a geosynchronous satellite? The lag is incredibly annoying. For data connections it won't matter so much, but who has different providers for voice and data?

Unless there is something I am missing, this is concept is DOA.

Re:Geosynchronous orbit = lag (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581857)

The may be able to undercut the DSS-style data services, which are 'pricey' at the moment (especially for what they deliver).

Plus, if you squint and think of GWB, the satellite is called 'TerrorStar', it doesn't need any other purpose.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582269)

According to the European Space Agency (ESA) article, the Ariane 5 ECA was designed to launch a payload up to 9.6 tonnes. The TerreStar 1 weighs 6.91 tonnes leaving about 2.69 tonnes unaccounted for. Anyone know what other satellite was along for the flight?

What I'm wondering (1)

kyle5t (1479639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582573)

How could an antenna for frequencies with a wavelength of a few centimeters be 18 meters wide?

Re:What I'm wondering (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582617)

The reflector is 18 meters in diameter, not the feed elements.

Re:What I'm wondering (2, Informative)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583035)

How could an antenna for frequencies with a wavelength of a few centimeters be 18 meters wide?

In space, nobody can hear your phone - unless he has a really big reflector.

How far we've come (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584395)

This may be the biggest commercial satellite, but 40 years ago we sent space craft weighing a lot more than this to the Moon. The Apollo LM, alone, had a mass of fifteen tonnes. They lobbed the CSM (30 tonnes) to the Moon too.

That was with 1960s technology, though with lots of money to spend.

...laura

Now that rhe Ion Cannon is up... (1)

hlavac (914630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28586713)

Now that the Ion Cannon is up and running, Europe announces formation of the Global Defense Initiative ;)
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