Conquering the vast starry sky has always been a lofty dream of mankind. In 2015, SpaceX, a subsidiary of Musk, released the Starlink-Starlink plan for the first time. The plan aims to achieve a global satellite network by launching 12,000 small satellites into low-Earth orbit by November 2027 through laser communication with each other. The communication network composed of tens of thousands of Starlink satellites connects all satellites into a “constellation”, providing reliable Internet communication connections to every corner of the world. Starlink Internet will open up new fields in the field of communication interconnection, and it will take time to subvert the traditional telecommunications industry.
SpaceX’s Starlink Plan
SpaceX’s satellite launch plan is divided into two steps. The first batch will launch 1,600 satellites to an orbital altitude of 1,150km, and the second batch plans to launch a total of 2,825 satellites, which will be placed in four orbits of 1,110km, 1,130km, 1,275km and 1,325km respectively. height. In the future, it is still preparing to add another 30,000 satellites to the 1,584 satellites that have been launched so far, eventually bringing the total number of satellites to about 42,000.
Starlink Internet Plan
In terms of construction speed, SpaceX has launched nearly 600 Starlink satellites into the sky, and there are currently 1,584 satellites that will be deployed in low-Earth orbit 550 kilometers above the earth. Starlink can already open some applications. According to Starlink’s official website, Starlink’s alpha tests are only open to rural areas in Washington State, and these tests will provide SpaceX with data to evaluate its market performance. The advantages of 5G communication are fast network speed and low latency, but the disadvantage is that the coverage is limited. Obviously, the biggest advantage of satellite Internet plans is that they can cover the world, especially in remote areas that 5G cannot reach.
In terms of network speed and delay, according to Musk’s original vision, the maximum network speed of Starlink can reach 1Gbps, which is 180 times the current average network speed. However, according to the current test situation, there is still a certain gap between ideal and reality. According to the U.S. civil test, the current maximum download speed of Starlink is 60.24Mbps, and the slowest is 35.49Mbps. Upload speeds ranged from a low of 4.58Mbps to 17.70Mbps, while latency ranged from 31ms to 94ms. Although it has not yet reached the ideal network speed and delay of 5G, and cannot meet low-latency scenarios such as autonomous driving and telemedicine, it has been able to support 4K video and games. SpaceX’s official test data shows that the downlink speed of the Starlink Internet can reach 1440Mbps, which has reached the average level of 5G. At present, the number of satellites in the Starlink Internet has not been fully deployed, which is an important factor affecting the speed.
In terms of cost and tariff, Starlink can reduce the networking cost to 6 billion US dollars / 5 years (satellite life span of 5 years) in the case of mass production, and can already start to compete with submarine optical cables. Both Musk and Gwen Shotwell have recently revealed that the manufacturing cost of each Starlink satellite is well below $500,000. If it is estimated at US$250,000 per unit and the cost of each launch is US$15 million (the total cost of each batch of deployment is US$30 million in the case of reusing the first-stage rocket and the reusing fairing), all deployments are completed 42,000, Only about $23 billion needs to be invested. The cost of completing all the plans is even less than a submarine cable, and there are no base station fees. According to SpaceX’s estimates, the completion of the entire Starlink plan will cost 10 billion US dollars to build a satellite communication network covering the world and serving hundreds of millions of users, which is far less than the annual network deployment and operation and maintenance costs of a telecom operator. After the network is established, Starlink Internet will bring the company more than 30 billion US dollars in revenue every year.
Lower communication delay, simpler communication mode, and wider communication range make Starlink Internet an excellent solution to fill the gap in the Internet market. However, the accompanying scarcity of frequency orbit resources, space junk and light pollution still need to be solved urgently.
The satellite Internet industry has set off a development boom
At present, based on the scarcity of frequency orbit resources and its commercial potential, satellite Internet has become the focus of major enterprises, and Starlink Internet communication services will face a lot of competition in the future. Bezos, the world’s richest man, established Blue Origin, a commercial space operation business company, as early as 2000, and Blue Origin’s satellite launch plan, Project Kuiper, plans to launch 3,236 broadband communication satellites to low-Earth orbit to provide remote areas. High speed internet. In addition, according to CNBC, the British government has committed $500 million to revive the bankrupt satellite startup OneWeb, determined to surpass Musk’s Starlink.
my country has also intensively issued relevant supporting policy documents and actively deployed the development of the satellite communication industry. In November 2016, one year after Musk proposed the concept of the Starlink Plan, Aerospace Science and Technology and Aerospace Science and Industry have proposed their own satellite Internet plans and conducted test satellite launches. Since then, the Hongyan, Hongyun, Xingyun and other projects have been launched successively, marking the launch of my country’s new satellite Internet layout, and the need to build a global coverage, integration of heaven and earth, and a safe and reliable satellite Internet system is imminent. In terms of manufacturing and launch costs, the United States has an advantage, and domestic commercial satellite Internet manufacturers still need to catch up. The “2018 China Commercial Aerospace Industry Investment Report” estimates that the manufacturing cost of my country’s commercial satellites is about 3.76 million US dollars per satellite, and the launch cost is about 4.7 million US dollars per satellite, which are much higher than the United States.
Satellite Internet has a wide range of core application scenarios and has room for commercialization. It can be widely used in remote areas, such as communications, marine operations, scientific research broadband, aviation broadband, and disaster emergency channels. It will open up new fields of communication interconnection and fill the gap in the global Internet market. Huge blank. In 2027, 12,000 SpaceX satellites will be deployed. The spectacular scene of satellite space networking that was once only seen in science fiction films may really become a reality.
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