"SpaceX has revealed the first successful test of Starlink satellite ‘space ’ ilasersn orbit, a significant step along the path to an upgraded “Version 2” constellation.
In simple terms, those “lasers” are a form of optical (light-based) communication with an extremely high bandwidth ceiling, potentially permitting the wireless, high-speed transfer of vast quantities of data over equally vast distances. Of the ~715 Starlink satellites SpaceX has launched over the last 16 months, some 650 are operational Version 1 (v1.0) spacecraft designed to serve a limited group of customers in the early stages of the constellation. Prior to SpaceX’s September 3rd announcement, it was assumed that none of those satellites included laser interlinks, but now we know that two spacecraft – presumably launched as part of Starlink-9 or -10 in August – have successfully tested prototype lasers in orbit.
Ever since CEO Elon Musk first revealed SpaceX’s satellite internet ambitions in early 2015, those plans have included some form of interconnection between some or all of the thousands of satellites the company would need to launch. While a functional low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite internet constellation doesn’t intrinsically need to have that capability to function or be successful, inter-satellite links offer some major benefits in return for the added spacecraft complexity and cost." teslarati
This story proceeds from good to wonderful. I hope I live long enough to subscribe. BTW, I am helping support the local dental community with a molar extraction last week, job well done and a multi, multi program of filling a lot of gum line cavities, enthusiastic digging around with lasers, etc.
Gotta help the locals meet their nut dates. pl
you may ask why I don’t use military facilities or the VA? No space available in the military system for retirees unless you are a retired general or admiral or his family. The VA in the Washington area is just full to capacity.
As an Englander the question never came to mind, our system is a wee bit different with most of us now paying the full cost, albeit via an insurance scheme. Even the remaining NHS dentistry is no longer free.
My last full cost molar extraction was just over £100.
Colonel and others,
Here are a couple of links for you. What is discussed in these links may very well not be news to some of you, but it certainly was news to me, and opened up new insights and possibilities. (The nominal hook here is the role of StarLink in these developments.)
From February 2020…
From September 2020…
So, the first link concerns itself largely with the developing role of the new Space Force and its geopolitical rationale, while the second link is concerned with the development of the Advanced Battle Management System. But the ABMS would work in close coordination with elements of the Space Force, whose battle space is primarily understood to be the so-called High Ground.
A brief personal editorial, if I may be indulged…
The US must survive the current crisis conditions, or we will be flanked by other global powers, specifically China and Russia, if their developing capabilities directed toward the ability to interdict or damage our free use of space as a commons are not challenged.
We come full circle; one of our first globally-significant acts was to take on the Barbary Pirates (Hail, Jefferson for that, but also for the Louisiana Purchase which similarly guaranteed our internal freedom from interference from European Powers in our access to the interior of N. America, and our control of the mouth of the Mississippi for internal trade with the Eastern states, as well as to the world) to preserve freedom of navigation and commercial enterprise. And now here we are, at a similar juncture in the nation’s history.
Thanks for your indulgence.
Musk said this about service in densely populated areas:
“The challenge for anything that is space-based is that the size of the cell is gigantic… it’s not good for high-density situations. We’ll have some small number of customers in LA. But we can’t do a lot of customers in LA because the bandwidth per cell is simply not high enough.”
The laser link system, once complete, will envelop earth with a mesh of laser beams – one can imagine it being useful to track space objects such as meteorites or a dropped wrench by the glint it will produce when crossing the laser beam. Particle counters work that way.