the U.S. Army will conduct trials of broadband via satellite system Elon musk Starlink. The agreement signed with SpaceX, gives the army three years of testing, reports Arstechnica. According to the conditions via Starlink will forward the data to the military, and the army will evaluate the cost of reorientation of army communication systems on satellites in low-earth orbit.
the Contract with the military is the acronym CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) and used by the U.S. army to evaluate technologies and services from the private sector, which can then be purchased. In this case, the army wants to evaluate the performance of the Internet service Starlink when connected to military systems. Starlink is incompatible with the current network equipment in the military, but satellite Internet promises high throughput and minimum latency.
a Source SpaceNews reported that the deal with SpaceX will allow the army to assess the prospects of application of modern achievements in commercial radio, such as a new constellation of satellites Starlink and modern development of terminal, capable of tracking satellites in low-earth orbit. Reportedly, the project supervision will be the command center for the development of combat capabilities in C5ISR Maryland.
the Army also has previously signed agreements CRADA with companies such as Kratos and SES to assess the use of commercial SATCOM. Current command centers of the army shall have access to the geostationary satellites using large plates, which are mounted on trailers and are not very mobile.
to use satellite Internet Starlink, the army needs new terminals, new systems and new antenna. For full implementation you need to change some things in hardware and software, and it is a huge investment, which must be a good think. The cost of equipping the army forrazdelenii new ground terminal will be one of the issues that will be explored in the framework of dogwear.
Another problem is the security of data transmitted over communication channels at the ground station. Currently, satellites Starlink is not connected in space via optical communication channels, so the data is transmitted to ground stations located around the world. The U.S. military prefer to use the system with inter-satellite links to data can be set in the desired entry point.
System Starlink, according to the plans, aims to provide Internet access to users throughout the world due to the deployment in earth orbit of a large number of small machines (up to 500 kg). It is assumed that the communication system is everywhere, including remote and sparsely populated areas, will provide broadband access to the Internet at speeds of 1 Gigabit per second, which corresponds to the 5G standard. SpaceX has estimated the cost of the project at $10 billion, but experts believe this figure too low.
Elon Musk reported that to ensure a minimum coverage you will need at least six launches with 60 satellites, i.e. 360 machines and for the average of 12 runs, which will allow to create a group of devices 720.
Musk told how it will look in the device with which people will have access to the Internet of the future. In his Twitter he wrote earlier that the terminal Starlink similar to “slim round UFO on a stick.” According to the entrepreneur, the optimal tilt angle, the tool will pick himself. The user will only have to turn on the terminal in the socket and guide to heaven. To switch between satellites the device will also be himself.
In 2015, Musk said that SpaceX terminals before they are called Starlink, will cost from $100 to $300 each. However, the cheapest the manufacturer sells such a device today at a price of about $1 thousand, according to analyst Tim Farrar. As sami Starlink satellites, SpaceX develops and manufactures terminals that, according to President and chief operating officer Gwynn Shotwell, it was not a trivial task.
Contracts with the military and other large government organizations can be critical to ensuring the financial success of Starlink. Although SpaceX plans to convert a unit engaged in the project of satellite Internet Starlink in the independent company and to undertake an initial public offering of its shares (IPO) in the next few years. This was reported earlier, SpaceX President Gwynn Shotwell, speaking to investors.