News: Elon Musk’s Next Mission: Internet Satellites. SpaceX, Tesla Founder Explores Venture to Make Lighter, Cheaper Satellites.

News: Elon Musk’s Next Mission: Internet Satellites. SpaceX, Tesla Founder Explores Venture to Make Lighter, Cheaper Satellites.

Brian H | 2014年11月10日

I hope they're designed to self-de-orbit at EOL, so as not to contribute to the spacejunk cloud around the planet! Looks like the plan is for hundreds of LEO sats (to minimize latency and lag incompatible with verbal communications.)

EmperorTytus | 2014年11月10日

C'mon, Brian. Spacejunk being harmful is a myth perpetuated by the spacejunk Alarmists. In fact, spacejunk has been present for millions of years and is actually *beneficial* to the environment. Don't believe the ASJ believers who claim most of it is of human origin. In fact, spacejunk has saved the whales and forests, permitted massive expansion of human population, and funded a doubling of lifespan, it is plain to see. Don't be one of the brainless ASJ cult!

carlgo | 2014年11月11日

A Tesla ISP? Sure, I'm in. Assuming the speed is there and the economics work, it would be just what we need. Might be the end of silly cell towers as well.

Model ☰ | 2014年11月11日

A Tesla ISP?

No, the ISP will probably be Greg Wyler's "WorldVu Satellites Ltd.". But if Elon/Tesla get a deal here, I can easy see how Tesla's will be Internet connected in the future... No more roaming fees when you drive your Tesla abroad. Always connected, no more out of 3G reception.

Timo | 2014年11月11日

@Emperor. Just FYI, I flagged your post. It's neither funny, nor appropriate here. I don't want to see any AGW debate in other topics than those two made just for that.

EmperorTytus | 2014年11月11日

It's only a bit of fun. Lighten up, Timo.

Benz | 2014年11月12日

Back on topic.

I was thinking about how useful these satellites can be for all Tesla EV's, besides a higher quality internet connection.

In what ways could these satellites be useful for the navigation and autopilot functionality of all the Tesla EV's?

Could these satellites (because there will be so many of them) be useful to pinpoint the exact location of all the Tesla EV's? Maybe even up to the millimeter level?

Because that could be really useful. Currently there is GPS (24 satellites). But GPS has a certain margin of error, so there certainly is room for improvement. I think that you could do that with a system that has 700 satellites.

I am interested in other people's thoughts and opinions as well.

carlgo | 2014年11月12日

Emperor: your post was funny and clever.

Benz: Aren't the sats supposed to be for communication? But, if for GPS as well, then Tesla transponders could report the exact position of the four corners of the car and this would allow for precise autonomous driving.

Super high speed internet, available everywhere at low cost is itself something that must come about sometime, so why not now?

Benz | 2014年11月13日

@ carlgo

"Super high speed internet, available everywhere at low cost is itself something that must come about sometime, so why not now?"

I agree. But, there must be more to it. It's a very strategic move.

But this network of satellites must have a connection with the (future) autopilot-functionality of the Tesla EV's.

We know that it will take a long time before cars will be technically fully able to drive autonomous from A to B (about 10 years?).

And as time goes by, the level of autonomous driving will increase: 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, 100%. The higher the level of autonomous driving is, the more difficult it is to make it actually work.

I think that this network of satellites will come into play when the level of autonomous driving will have reached a certain point (95%?), and from there on this network of satellites will help to get that level even higher.

So, therefore I think that it's a strategic move on the long term (2022?).

BrassGuy | 2014年11月13日

Benz - GPS accuracy depends on the precise measurement of time, not quantity of satellites. IIRC, GPS accuracy is currently within one meter.

Global high speed internet access is obviously Elon's goal with this project. If you consider Elon's other missions (sustainable transportation, renewable energy, increasing the chances of long term survivability of the human race through interplanetary colonization) my first guess would be that he'd like to see these satellites free for consumer use. As posed in the article, how would this ($1B) be paid for? Nikola wanted to supply the world with free wireless power. Maybe universal internet access will be just another part of Elon's legacy.

Benz | 2014年11月13日

Building Elon Musk's New Industrial Empire


3seeker | 2014年11月13日

Elon's every move is strategic, much like a master chess player in the stage of worldwide technology. What would he think of next?

Red Sage ca us | 2014年11月14日

The WSJ article seemed... a bit jumbled, imprecise, possibly speculative. The comments under it are the typical Naysayer Kochsucking drivel we have all come to consider pure comedy.

The trick, really? Managing to complete the network before the individual satellites are obsolete. Strange that neither the article or comments realized the intent is to launch multiple satellites at once. That is why it is imperative to make them smaller and lightweight.


Benz | 2014年11月14日

@ Red Sage

"Strange that neither the article or comments realized the intent is to launch multiple satellites at once. That is why it is imperative to make them smaller and lightweight."

Would it be possible to lauch 5 satellites at once?

I have heard Elon Musk say in a recent interview that a floating surface (300 feet x 70 feet) is being constructed in a shipyard in Louisiana. They will use it to try to land the rockets that come back from space. When they will have managed to land perfectly a number of times, then they will do that on land.

Suppose they can manage to send 1 rocket per day to space and back. That would speed up the expansion of this network of satellites tremendously too.

Red Sage ca us | 2014年11月14日

Precisely. If this is truly a plan in process, it will be imperative to have reusable rockets. The disposable one are too expensive to work with... Such satellites would have to be well shielded, armored perhaps, and have a self-contained power source. That is where the bulk of their weight comes from. But the smaller and lighter the satellites are, the sipler their construction, the better. I wonder if they would even need their own thrusters for positioning.


loefvinc | 2014年11月18日

Assuming that the plan is to use the Falcon Heavy to launch these satellites, at 250 lbs each, the rocket could lift up to 467 of them in a single launch into Low Earth Orbit. Or 187 to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. That's also assuming that they can get the size down to where they need it. Even if they can only manage 100 per flight, thats still only 7 shots.


vgarbutt | 2014年11月19日

I wonder if they will be in geo stationary orbit? They will probably have solar panels and hall effect thrusters.

Benz | 2015年1月15日

I saw this:

Richard Branson

Creating the world's largest ever satellite constellation


There must be some kind of cooperation with Elon Musk.

THRΞΞ | 2015年1月15日

Looks like the page was taken down.

Captain_Zap | 2015年1月15日

I'll be at an SpaceX event tomorrow that is associated with some of this stuff. Dragon will be there. I'll fill you in if an NDA is not an issue.

Model ☰ | 2015年1月16日

Looks like the page was taken down.

No, but the URL is wrong/changed:

Benz | 2015年1月16日

@ Captain_Zap

At what time will this event at SpaceX start?

SamO | 2015年1月16日


How did the event go?

Brian H | 2015年1月16日

Virgins in Space! If you think SpaceX timelines slip, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

renwo S alset | 2015年1月16日

SpaceX went beyond a NDA with CZ, they silenced him completely. Poor guy.

Brian H | 2015年1月16日

RIP, sweet Captain. Flights of Dragons take thee to thy rest.

Model ☰ | 2015年1月17日
Benz | 2015年1月17日

Maybe Captain_Zap had to choose between the red pil and the blue pil?

Benz | 2015年1月28日

@ Captain_Zap

Are you still there?

carlgo2 | 2015年1月28日

Another link to consider. I hadn't realized that this is an actual plan, not just a concept like the Hyperloop.

Having your own rocket company with reusable rockets helps...

Benz | 2015年2月10日

Here is a video of the SpaceX Seattle event.