AT&T just declared the end of the satellite-TV era in the US

DirecTV will continue offering satellite-TV service—it had nearly 20 million satellite video subscribers as of September, per company filings. But the company will focus on growing its online video business instead, Donovan said. It has a new set-top box, where people can get the same TV service they’d get with satellite, through an internet-connected box they can install themselves. It expects that box to become a greater share of its new premium-TV service installations in the first half of 2019. It also sells cheaper, TV packages with fewer channels through its DirecTV Now and WatchTV streaming services, which work with many smart TVs and streaming media players like Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices.

Source: AT&T just declared the end of the satellite-TV era in the US — Quartz

The first detailed look at how Elon Musk’s space internet could work

When sending an internet message via Starlink, a ground station will begin by using radio waves to talk to a satellite above it. Once in space, the message will be fired from satellite to satellite using lasers until it is above its destination. From there, it will be beamed down to the right ground station using radio waves again.

Source: The first detailed look at how Elon Musk’s space internet could work | New Scientist

Between distant places, this will allow messages to be sent about twice as fast as through the optical fibres on Earth that currently connect the internet, despite having to travel to space and back. This is because the speed of the signal in glass is slower than it is through space.

Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit on second attempt

Following successful first and second-stage burns, Electron reached orbit and deployed customer payloads at 8 minutes and 31 seconds after lift-off.

“Rocket Lab was founded on the principle of opening access to space to better understand our planet and improve life on it.

Source: Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit on second attempt

SpaceX plans to start launching high-speed internet satellites in 2019

SpaceX hopes to start testing its satellites before the end of this year and continuing through the early months of 2018. If that’s successful, the company plans to launch satellites in phases between 2019 and 2024, after which the system will be at full capacity.

Source: SpaceX plans to start launching high-speed internet satellites in 2019

J.C. Penney’s troubles are reflected in satellite images of its parking lots

Orbital Insight, a venture capital-funded satellite intelligence startup based in Palo Alto, tracks 250,000 parking lots for 96 retail chains across the U.S.

Source: J.C. Penney’s troubles are reflected in satellite images of its parking lots | The Outline

Orbital Insight’s parking lot figures track pretty closely with J.C. Penney’s stock price.

Many eyes on Earth

By contrast, the swarm satellites’ cameras will always be on, photographing everything in their path and, owing to their numbers, will pass over the same points on Earth with a frequency of hours to a few days, depending on latitude.

The biggest customers of conventional commercial imaging satellites are governments, in particular intelligence agencies and the military. Prices can be prohibitive for many other potential users, including researchers,

via Many eyes on Earth : Nature News & Comment.

Because the swarms are still to be launched, scientists have yet to fully assess the quality of the imagery. But the satellites’ spatial resolutions of 1–5 metres are much higher than those of most scientific satellites. Landsat, NASA’s Earth-observation workhorse, for example, has a resolution of 15–100 metres depending on the spectral frequency, with 30 metres in the visible-light range.

Boost Satellite Bandwidth and End Jittery Videos

The tweaked version of TCP being honed by the MIT group and colleagues instead sends mathematical functions describing multiple packets so that a receiving device, such as a satellite terminal, can solve for missing ones without having to refetch them. “You transfer more packets than what you normally would, but you don’t have to retransmit,” Khan says.

via Boost Satellite Bandwidth and End Jittery Videos | MIT Technology Review.

This is a problem streaming in wifi networks with sketchy coverage  as well.  This is similar to a snippet I posted here on 10/25/2012 in reference to this article also from the MIT Technology Review  A Bandwidth Breakthrough

Apparently they’re still working on this TCP retransmission problem.

Deployment of Europe’s Galileo constellation continues

Galileo is Europe’s own global satellite navigation system. It will consist of 30 satellites and their associated ground infrastructure.

via ESA Portal – Deployment of Europe’s Galileo constellation continues.

The four satellites launched during the IOV phase are the nucleus of the constellation that will then be extended to reach its FOC.

Air Force sets first post in ambitious Space Fence project

The Space Fence will use multiple S-band ground-based radars — the exact number will depend on operational performance and design considerations — that will permit detection, tracking and accurate measurement of orbiting space objects. The idea is that the Space Fence is going to be the most precise radar in the space situational surveillance network and the S-band capability will provide the highest accuracy in detecting even the smallest space objects, the Air Force stated. The Fence will have greater sensitivity, allowing it to detect, track and measure an object the size of a softball orbiting more than 1,200 miles in space. Because it is an uncued tracking system, it will provide evidence of satellite break-ups, collisions or unexpected maneuvers of satellites, the Air Force said.

via Layer 8: Air Force sets first post in ambitious Space Fence project.