posted ago by Arturhawkwing ago by Arturhawkwing +28 / -1

SpaceX is supposedly a month or two away from bankruptcy. After lobbing thousands of satellites into space in low earth orbit (supposedly for internet) they suddenly fear bankruptcy.

So what is starlink really for? Autonomous drones? 'Cloud' servers to house an AI? Uplinks for the vaxxed?

Whatever it is, i have never believed the ISP story. It's almost as ridiculous as believing CERN is for smashing atoms.


Comments (16)
sorted by:
You're viewing a single comment thread. View all comments, or full comment thread.
sgtnoodle 4 points ago +4 / -0

Part of Starlink's value proposition is the promise of lower latency internet communication. Information travels roughly half as fast through metal, atmosphere, and fiber optic cable as it does through a vacuum. By relaying data through the satellite network, data can be sent tens of milliseconds faster from one side of the Earth to the other than existing technology. That's worth a lot of money to a lot of businesses.

The current starlink satellites lack communications lasers, and so they can't relay data between satellites. The latency is therefore no better than current technology. SpaceX needs to launch a new version of satellites with communications lasers in order to reach the full advertised potential. The new satellites are bigger than the current ones, though, and their current Falcon 9 rocket can't economically launch them in volume. So, they're doubling down on using the fully reusable Starship platform to launch them. The fear of bankruptcy is due to the fact that Starship doesn't actually work reliably yet. They need to get Starship working in the next year. Otherwise, they'll risk running out of money.

SuicideTruthbomber 2 points ago +2 / -0

Thank you!!

It is completely normal for a business to experience a cash crunch during its growth phase.

I have not been following Starlink, but I did get a chance to witness a chain of Starlink satellites pass overhead one evening. I as very surprised that they are not outfitted with intersatellite communication, and the efficiency issues with getting the larger models into orbit is also a surprise.

The commercial (and secret) opportunities from having such a network are enormous. Take streaming and video conferencing. They can potentially be a single network end-to-end, and therefore employ IP multicast (or a proprietary protocol even more optimized for their network) to massively save network resources. Meanwhile, their terrestrial competitors will need to offer some big platform.