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Chat => Tech Chat => Topic started by: Alex Atkin UK on May 17, 2022, 12:31:03 AM

Title: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on May 17, 2022, 12:31:03 AM
Depressing, but it doesn't take much critical thinking to realise this is true.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vuMzGhc1cg

Been watching a lot of video about Elon Musk recently and its utterly alarming how much of a scam artist he is.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Weaver on May 17, 2022, 02:03:50 PM
Superb article. Starlink is grossly immoral and I will not be going there. The space junk and threat to astronomy problems are horrendous.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on May 17, 2022, 04:51:35 PM
I honestly didn't realise it performed WORSE than a three-satellite solution, I thought the whole point of low-earth orbit was because it could be faster.  I suppose it might be, with enough ground units, but then you might as well use 5G and fibre.

It seems he takes the Apple mentality "think different" to the extreme in that all he ever does is propose doing something the absolutely worst possible way, that will never be financially viable, in order to claim it as some breakthrough in technology that nobody else ever thought of.

His whole business model seems to be a kind of pyramid scheme, start a project, run into financial problems, get funding to prop up that business then funnel it into a new venture, rinse and repeat.  What possibly end goal could he have?  Does he honestly think if he keeps throwing stuff at the wall eventually something will stick?

It just boggles my mind he has been allowed to carry on like this.  He's not even a good speaker, stammering all the time, like he's trying to think up the next lie to proclaim to wow the audience.

I guess there's one thing he has done (yet somehow so many can't see it), he's shown just how flawed basing someones wealth on shares is, when those shares are artificially inflated.  The bubble has to burst eventually and he'll be left at best with nothing, at worst in jail.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91lxr3UD8ys
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Chunkers on May 18, 2022, 10:49:46 AM
I think it might be worth suspending judgement on this, I mean he has built rocket ships and a lot of cars hasn't he?

I think Elon Musk has become even more of a political target since he starting messing with Twitter which apparently enraged a lot people who use it, if you listen to the mocking tone of the narrator its clearly a hit piece and not at all objective.

To me he is certainly no worse than the other billionaires who own everything and as an engineer I would say he has a lot of a great ideas and innovations (and no doubt a bunch of bad ones as well).

Isn't the whole point of Starlink to provide internet access to remote locations? My guess is that most of us in the UK are not really the target market.

Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on May 18, 2022, 03:28:35 PM
You're missing the key point, he has done what he has through fraud and its not sustainable.  That would be bad enough if it just meant he ultimately wasted a bunch of money and were left back at square one, but its worse than that.

He made a fortune from PayPal through absolutely no skill of his own, merely holding onto his shares.  From then on he's used his influence to con people out of money to put into project after project that is not financially viable.  Look through some of the other videos, its absolutely astounding just how corrupt he is.  He makes solar roadways, free/wireless energy and other scams look like schoolyard pranks in comparison.

There's a lot of things we CAN do, if we throw unreasonable amounts of money at it with no hope of a return on that investment, but what do you do when the money runs out? At some point his entire empire has to come crashing down as its based entirely on smoke and mirrors, its just unfortunate that a lot of innocent people will get caught in the crossfire.

I'm not talking investors here, if you didn't bother to do your due diligence then its your own fault.  But people who come to rely on Starlink are going to be seriously screwed when it goes bankrupt and we could ALL be completely screwed if his stupidity takes out all satellites in orbit.

You can't give "the benefit of the doubt" to activities that literally are hindering our ability to detect asteroids heading for earth, may destroy our entire network of satellites and make space travel no longer possible.  Ironically what Starlink is doing is completely at odds with his supposed goals for SpaceX.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Weaver on May 20, 2022, 03:49:03 PM
Chunkers, did you watch the video? What do you think about the space junk and Kessler syndrome argument?

Moving off topic, it seems to me we urgently need a space hoover.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Chunkers on May 20, 2022, 05:12:12 PM
Chunkers, did you watch the video? What do you think about the space junk and Kessler syndrome argument?


I watched about half of it but it just seemed like a one-sided hit piece so I stopped ....

I didn't get to the Kessler piece so I googled it, not surprisingly some people think he is ruining space travel forever and others think its fine as low orbit satellites have to keep themselves in orbit and otherwise decay and burn up very fast (apparently over 80 starlink satellites have already done this)

I know you guys are all very aware of this, but in general I don't find YouTube a very good source of objective information anymore. Unless its on something very neutral e.g. how to unblock my toilet.  Most of the reviews are now extremely biased, 'sponsored' and the news content is both biased and heavily censored and you are rarely able to establish where the bias is coming from.

I am sure he is no saint, but since Elon Musk came out as a 'free speech absolutist' or whatever it was he said there are now parts of mainstream media who are desperate to discredit him

I currently work in North Africa, here people can't afford internet connections and those that are available are incredibly slow, heavily censored and unreliable. People here dream of fast, independent and affordable internet connections, maybe this might help.

Regarding his lack of speaking skills and charisma, this might be partly explained by the fact that I believe he has Aspergers ...

C
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on May 21, 2022, 01:29:45 AM
Its a debunking channel using facts, figures and Musks own claims vs reality.  There are other channels not focused on debunking that also do the odd debunking video on stuff like that, such as EEVBlog.  You don't have to rely on one source, just look at the many scientists and engineers.

You don't have to believe everything they said is true (though I'm sure you can Google the figures to confirm them), they include video of him actually saying things that were downright lies, period. Full self driving, hyperloop, electric trucks, all things he can claimed he could do but has completely failed.  Even one of his own AI employees was highlighting how flawed the self driving is, so he fired them.

The problem with Starlink is even if it works, more lower earth satellites means you need more base stations to bounce the signal off, and if you have those base stations then just take broadband over land from them for a far more efficient and reliable service.  It never seemed plausible to me that there could be enough bandwidth to just bounce the signal between satellites to a few base stations.  The whole reason StarLink is so slow to roll out is the cost and the fact many areas CAN be served right now, but everyone would suddenly be on dialup speeds due to the lack of capacity.

The problem with the things he has done is its not financially sustainable.  Starlink/SpaceX is being propped up by government funding, when they finally realise its just a never ending cash sink, its dead.

Its a short term solution when by their own admission, the satellites need replacing every 5 years + any that fail early or never make it to orbit in the first place.

I can absolutely believe he has Aspergers (though were not supposed to call it that any more), I had a friend who also had it and he also stole things from school without asking because he thought it was okay as he was only "borrowing" them, plus many times I absolutely denied things he had done that I knew for a fact he HAD done.  But my point wasn't about that, it was about the confusion that anyone would think his arguments and lies were convincing.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: celso on June 11, 2022, 10:52:43 AM
I don't really give a s... about Elon Musk. I think he made electric cars attractive and main stream, and I also think that developing a cheaper rocket that can land, engines, and space capsule that can actually fly is a nice achievement. Impossible stuff for some, but they did it. This doesn't mean that the state of Tesla self driving is acceptable, that I agree with Musk's behaviour, what he says, what he claims, his promises, the way he treats his employees, how he names his kids ( :lol: ), etc. I also don't own stock or anything like that.

With this said, I like space stuff. I skimmed through the video (edit: the one from the main post) and I think it's a bit one sided. Parts of it are also outdated. I can't talk about the financial aspect of it (if it will work as a business), but he's taking some facts and presenting them in a negative and sometimes even misleading way.

As we know now, there will be more than one service (to get faster speeds, business, backhaul for remote areas, financial services wanting something faster than fibre connections for high frequency trading, etc) that cost way more than $99 (and prices have increased (https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2022/03/starlink-hikes-prices-to-599-up-front-and-110-per-month-blames-inflation/) recently). Not to mention military applications (https://www.politico.eu/article/elon-musk-ukraine-starlink/)... Russia took down Viasat (https://www.wired.com/story/viasat-internet-hack-ukraine-russia/) in Europe because Ukraine used it for their GIS Arta (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIS_Arta) system, that's why they quickly received 15k Starlink terminals (https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/elon-musk-says-15000-starlink-terminals-have-been-sent-to-ukraine/) (resulting in them being attacked and jammed (https://www.businessinsider.com/spacex-starlink-pentagon-russian-jamming-attack-elon-musk-dave-tremper-2022-4)). And what does the US Army knows (https://spacenews.com/u-s-army-signs-deal-with-spacex-to-assess-starlink-broadband/) that we don't? Can you imagine the things one could do remotely if low latency, high speeds are available (with the new satellite)? Maybe it's all a scam, but then even the Chinese are falling for it (https://www.newsweek.com/china-elon-musk-scientists-plan-destroy-starlink-spacex-1710399)?

He starts by talking about terminals (the first gen). Yes, the cable should be removable, but sadly it's how some companies do things. Anyway, it's just a RJ45 cable. It's not that hard to add a connector to it (as explained in the thread (https://old.reddit.com/r/Starlink/comments/lof2yk/anyone_fix_their_starlink_cord_i_guess_a_rodent/) he took that picture from) and I'd argue that you have to expect problems if you decide to leave cables exposed in the wild.

Then there's the hardware cost. It's public that they're selling terminals at a loss. There was an article in ArsTechnica(?) 1 or 2 years ago and they said the cost was higher than $599 and that they were trying to reduce costs. There's a new "dummer" terminal which costs less, but I believe it still costs more than $599? In any case, it's public that they're doing this.

Later on the video he mentions the warranty. Maybe it's a problem in the US, but in the UK and EU they have to replace your terminal if it arrives broken. The comment about extreme temperature, yes, it's a problem if you live in an extremely cold (rated up to -30ºC, there's a built-in heater) or hot place (+40ºC, can be a problem), but looking at feedback over at the /r/Starlink sub, they seem to have improved thermal management? I'm not sure if it's only improved only on the new gen or if the first gen was also improved (power reduction, less heat). Early adopter problems, I guess (not defending it, but it's the reality... eg: early 5G modems aren't as capable as the latest ones).

I don't think there's public information on the real costs of a Falcon 9 launch, but there are reports that it costs 37 million (https://spacenews.com/spacexs-reusable-falcon-9-what-are-the-real-cost-savings-for-customers/), not 50. Not to mention that they seem to be ok with the extra risks of reusing old boosters. We know two things: 1) with the alternatives charging 2 or 3 times more for the same service, there's no good reason for them to drop their prices; and 2), the main deployment is supposed to be done by Starship (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Starship) (not Falcon 9) and the satellites are also different: more capacity and with laser communication between them, reducing the need of ground stations and allowing for over water service.

Now, the the satellites. I think he's misleading people here (maybe I misunderstood him...) because the old satellites don't stay in orbit forever. First he shows a screenshot of a news article(?) with a claim from SpaceX saying that they stay in orbit (if they lose control) between 1 and 5 years, and then shows an image from ULA's Tori Bruno to prove that it's wrong... but it says right there: it takes years, not decades (edit: for that altitude). When a geomagnetic storm affected their launch back in Feb 2022, apparently the 40 satellites de-orbited in a week (https://www.theverge.com/2022/2/8/22924561/spacex-starlink-satellites-geomagnetic-storm) (lower than the operational orbit and according to SpaceX, but I haven't seen anyone contradicting them).

On top of this, it's important to keep in mind that they're not the only ones talking about big numbers. The UK's OneWeb asked for permission to launch 48k satellites (https://simpleflying.com/oneweb-more-leo-satellites/). Amazon's Project Kuiper will start with 3k. And then you have countries like China planing their own constellations.

I think everyone doing things the old way will need to adapt to having more satellites in space. Automation is needed and we probably need to stop panicking because a satellite will pass 500 meters away from another satellite. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know...

The point about the Kessler syndrome: it's a concern. I guess that's why different countries/space agencies/private business are investing in solutions to clear space debris. SpaceX is one of the contributors to this problem, but not the only one. An even bigger problem is when China, Russia, India, the US, etc, blow up satellites in orbit... he mentioned the space station, well, guess why they had to move it (https://www.newsweek.com/chinese-space-debris-international-space-station-russian-scientists-iss-1647883) late last year.

There's also a mention of the satellites affecting space observations. That's indeed a problem, especially at dawn/sunset. It was already a problem before SpaceX (see Iridium Flares, for example), but obviously more satellites makes the problem worse. The main difference between 2020 when people started to complain and now is that there's software to deal with that (https://astronomy.com/news/2022/03/starlink-satellite-streaks-how-big-a-problem-are-they). In any case, it's a problem... but it's not going to get better even if SpaceX goes away. We have to find ways to deal with it.

Finally... speeds. I mean, it's hard to take it seriously when satellite internet isn't for cities and he uses numbers from cities. Two paragraphs from this ArsTechnica article (https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2021/06/musk-aims-to-cut-starlink-user-terminal-price-from-500-to-as-low-as-250/), during beta:

> Musk has repeatedly said he does not view Starlink as a replacement for fast wireline Internet service. "You can think of Starlink as filling in the gaps between 5G and fiber, and really getting to the hardest, most difficult-to-reach 3 percent, possibly 5 percent [of Internet users," he said yesterday. "It quite nicely complements fiber and 5G."

[...]

> Still, Starlink can't provide enough capacity to serve a huge number of customers in high-density areas. Musk has stated that several times, and he said again yesterday, "We're well-suited to low- and medium-density areas but not high-density areas. In high-density areas, we'll be able to serve a limited number of customers."

So, why are we looking at speeds for cities like Seattle where fibre is available and during the beta (the video is from July 2021)? This is not for cities or aimed at customers that have fibre or gigabit 5G. Maybe it doesn't make sense for us Europeans because our countries are small compared to others, but places like Canada, US, Australia, etc (the ones that can afford Starlink) have lots of areas without any good coverage or coverage at all. And no, they won't get fibre any time soon... that's why terrible services like HughesNet had a business (at least until now).

I suggest checking out /r/Starlink (https://old.reddit.com/r/Starlink/) to see who and where people are using this service, the speeds and pings they get, how fast or expensive it was before, and so on. It's not a service for someone like me because I live in a city, have FTTC, good 5G from at least one provider, don't have an RV, don't live in a farm in a large country, etc. This doesn't mean that there are no customers for services like Starlink.

From my limited point of view, Starlink will fail if the new satellites don't have enough capacity (we need to wait and see) or the inter-satellite connection fails to work and/or if they fail to capture enough customers (keeping in mind that they're not all paying £110/month and that the price can be lower in other countries in the future). I think it's too early to say that they're going to fail, but yeah, it can happen. I can see the risk. From a space access point of view, having so many satellites is a problem, but the problem is bigger than SpaceX/Musk.

To end, I'll just say that personally I wouldn't be affected if Starlink failed and that I'm rooting for SpaceX only because we need more affordable space access and more innovation to a space that has become a bit stagnant. Maybe this video is right and it's all a scam and they'll fail. I guess time will say.

On a side note, I don't really care about Musk (or famous people in general). I don't understand why there are so many people crazy about him (both pro and against)... but for some reason his name and his companies attract clicks. Fires on petrol cars are not uncommon, but no one talks about it... but if a Tesla catches fire everyone knows about it. A few months ago it was a SpaceX rocket that was going to hit the moon... tabloids went crazy with that... but they were quiet when someone noticed the mistake (https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/02/actually-a-falcon-9-rocket-is-not-going-to-hit-the-moon/). And this video is from a YouTube channel that only talks/debunks him/his companies. I find it all a bit... weird.

(Sorry for any mistakes in this wall of text... I'm tired.)

---

Edit: Just to add, Adrian Kennard from AAISP seems to be happy with the service:

- https://www.revk.uk/2022/06/starlink-2.html
- https://nitter.net/TheRealRevK/status/1535337295380873217
- https://nitter.net/TheRealRevK/status/1535550468985966592

There are some issues and happy customers don't invalidate some of the things mentioned in this thread, but it works better than the video suggests.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on June 11, 2022, 02:12:23 PM
I don't really give a s... about Elon Musk. I think he made electric cars attractive and main stream, and I also think that developing a cheaper rocket that can land, engines, and space capsule that can actually fly is a nice achievement. Impossible stuff for some, but they did it.

But that's exactly the problem, he "claims" to have these things but in reality, they don't exist or at the very least do not work how he describes.  His entire empire is based on bold claims, pipe dreams and throwing good money after bad.

I'd call his empire a Ponzi scheme but its even worse, as he doesn't even pay off investors.  He just moves money between his various companies to prop each other up.  His empire is a a bunch of dominoes, as one starts to teeter he props it up with another, but once one finally goes the whole thing will collapse.

eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XIVjfRix_8

From my limited point of view, Starlink will fail if the new satellites don't have enough capacity (we need to wait and see) or the inter-satellite connection fails to work and/or if they fail to capture enough customers (keeping in mind that they're not all paying £110/month and that the price can be lower in other countries in the future). I think it's too early to say that they're going to fail, but yeah, it can happen. I can see the risk. From a space access point of view, having so many satellites is a problem, but the problem is bigger than SpaceX/Musk.

To end, I'll just say that personally I wouldn't be affected if Starlink failed and that I'm rooting for SpaceX only because we need more affordable space access and more innovation to a space that has become a bit stagnant. Maybe this video is right and it's all a scam and they'll fail. I guess time will say.

You seem to be glossing over the calculations that show Starlink WILL FAIL, because even in a best-case scenario if SpaceX delivered everything they need, its still not remotely economically viable to launch that many satellites while also replacing them every 5 years, not to mention the environmental impact of that many launches.  Plus the space junk problem it causes will have already have killed off any possibility of space travel, as once again he lied about how quickly those satellites de-orbit and break up in the atmosphere.

This isn't just about people losing out when the network fails, its about the long-term damage it will cause in the process.  The absolutely bizarre situation that Starlink is detrimental to not only the claimed goals of SpaceX, but every industry that uses satellites or space travel, including early warning detection of asteroids which I think is a bit more important than rural broadband.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: celso on June 11, 2022, 08:33:14 PM
I don't see how Musk's bold claims affect your Tesla. Isn't it fast? Doesn't it have the range? The charging network isn't better than the alternatives? How does a car being late to production affects your ability to drive your car?

The only way I could see someone being "scammed" is if they bought the self driving hardware early on. If they do it now, I find it a bit harder to be sad for them because even I know their self driving isn't ready... and I don't even drive. Be it a car, computer, phone, etc, buy it for what it is, not what it may become in the future.

What's left? So Musk made a bad business decision for Tesla by buying SolarCity to save his cousins(?) rear and now doesn't sell enough solar panels? I don't own Tesla shares though. If I did, I'd probably look into this stuff before investing. This may say a lot about Elon Musk the person, but again, it doesn't affect the performance of your car or home battery.

Regarding SpaceX, you must understand that they said similar things about early versions of Falcon. There's no way a small private company can create a rocket. There's no way they can make their own engine. There's no way you can land parts of it! Transporting cargo and people to and from the ISS? No way! Yet, they're doing it. They seem to deliver their contracts on time or at least faster (and cheaper) than Boeing. And refurbishment times keep dropping (slowly). For example, recently one of the boosters was used 21 days after it landed (https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/04/spacex-makes-progress-on-cadence-and-reuse-as-it-passes-150-launches/) (which means that they do it in less than 21 days). Again, keep in mind that people had doubts that this could be done. That's why I give them the benefit of doubt.

Starship... look, maybe it's a scam, but those videos pick the wrong things to "prove" it's going to fail. Things change? Of course they do. Why are people surprised that it looks different from the computer rendering? Not only it's still in early development, but anyone that pays attention to these new rocket companies knows that SpaceX doesn't work like the old space companies. They iterate fast, test often, and blow up a lot of stuff. You don't have to like it, but that's how Falcon, Merlin, and Dragon were developed and... it works. Is it late? Yes, but late doesn't mean ponzi scheme and prioritising launch and landing on land doesn't mean that they'll never land on some old oil rig (and plans can't change?).

While skipping parts of that video, I landed where he says something about engine melting (not a secret, Musk said it himself). Obviously a problem, but they developed engines before, it's not like they don't know how to do it. And they're still developing this one... v1 and v2 are not the final design. Look at this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA8ZBJWo73E) from last year. The first minutes don't make it clear that it's not the final version? If this is a scam, then they're being very public about it.

Regarding Starlink, the calculations are guesses. We can guess about satellite costs or how much a Falcon 9 launch cost, but we don't know for sure. How can you make a proper prediction, when you don't know how many users the version 1 and v2 of their satellites can handle? How much more capable are the new v2 (larger, heavier, apparently big improvements in capacity)? And economically, how many millions will some stock trading company in the City of London pay for something that can make information travel the Atlantic a few milliseconds faster than the alternatives? If the reports coming from Ukraine are true, how much money will they make from military contracts? We need to take this into consideration when guessing. He doesn't and even if he did... he would still be guessing. We don't know their real costs, we don't really know how much certain users are willing to pay, and there are things we can't predict. I wouldn't trust his (or anyone else outside SpaceX) calculations that much.

The number of satellites is a problem, but singling one company out when others are or will do the same doesn't look good. Why is Starlink bad, but OneWeb or Kuiper okay? And why are you both assuming most of those satellites can't be de-orbited at end-of-life? Do they have a flaw I'm not aware of? Looking at some of the satellites on sites like https://satellitemap.space/, they seem to be able to change altitudes fairly quickly. What am I missing?

You said above that the channel debunks things using facts, but those facts are sometimes twisted to fit a narrative. The point I made about the speeds, for example. The fact he presented about the speeds being bad is probably true, but he's comparing it to fibre in cities when Musk - which makes bold claims - says it's not competing with that (as quoted on my previous comment). Not only that, but those aren't the speeds most users are seeing (see the Starlink reddit sub, Adrian's blog post, etc). Knowing this, it's hard for me to believe the narrative because clearly he's cherry picking facts to fit his narrative.

All this makes me question the intentions of the person making those videos. I mean, any neutral person can see that Tesla had failures (maybe solar roof doesn't work!) and that they are strong in some areas (charging network, casting of parts for their cars, developing their own battery cells, etc). Starship may be late, but Falcon 9 works, they can land anywhere, Dragon works, refurbishment times are dropping, etc. Does Starlink success depends on if Musk really cares about Mars? And why is this guy focusing only on the negatives and ignoring anything that works? Has he shorted Tesla stocks or something like that?

Some of the points made on those videos are valid, but some are wrong and some are misleading, and that makes me raise my eyebrow. Then it seems that there are two groups when it comes to Musk: one thinks that everything he does is bad and that he's a con artist while the other thinks Lord Elon is a genius that can do no wrong and will defend him no matter what. This guy is in the later group and I personally think both groups are wrong. The truth is somewhere between the two.

The headlines I see on my news feed makes me believe that Musk sometimes is like a train without brakes... it can end badly. I'm somewhat aware of SpaceX risks. I also know that Tesla is about to experience competition from legacy car manufacturers, so there's a lot of risk for the company. And I'm happy to change my view if there's some new information. Until then, Musk's companies track record is to deliver some things, fail to deliver other things, they're often behind schedule, etc. Nothing has changed recently for me to change my mind about them.

(edit: I linked to the wrong YouTube video. It's fixed now. The forum is embedding it for some reason though...)
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on June 11, 2022, 10:22:35 PM
I don't see how Musk's bold claims affect your Tesla. Isn't it fast? Doesn't it have the range? The charging network isn't better than the alternatives? How does a car being late to production affects your ability to drive your car?

Again, its not about if it delivers, its about can it deliver long-term?  They forbid you from making any modifications to the car and repairs are not economically viable.
The only way I could see someone being "scammed" is if they bought the self driving hardware early on. If they do it now, I find it a bit harder to be sad for them because even I know their self driving isn't ready... and I don't even drive. Be it a car, computer, phone, etc, buy it for what it is, not what it may become in the future.

Its literally called Self Driving, but they admitted its Level 1, which is advanced cruise control at best.

Any system that self-drives "some of the time" but will randomly fail, has no business being used on public roads.  It increases rather than decreases the chance of accidents as it flies in the face of hazard perception, how can you react to a hazard developing if you don't know its a hazard until the self driving system fails?  I haven't driven much, but enough to understand how that's just a terrible situation.  If you're relying on the car to drive itself the majority of the time, you're not going to react as quickly when something goes wrong which can be the difference between life and death.

What about Tesla trucks that never were manufactured?  What about faulty battery management controllers but they just wrote software to hide the error messages?

Also Tesla aren't good at making battery cells, they buy them from Panasonic and forbid you from replacing the cells or repairing a bad battery management controller, making a new battery pack rather uneconomical.

As for Starlink vs other services:
Quote
The OneWeb satellites fly at higher altitudes than the Starlink spacecraft. The difference in architecture means OneWeb can reach global internet coverage with 648 satellites, a significantly smaller constellation than Starlink.

Kuiper definitely sounds just as bad as Starlink however.

I still think that is bad mind you, when competitors can achieve global coverage with THREE satellites.  When you're dealing with something as risky as space junk, minimalism is a must.  Its not a case of if we'll no longer be able to launch satellites, but when.  The more go up, the sooner that day will come.

Overall when it comes to "what about the stuff Musk has done that works", again, its not about if it works or not - you can make a lot of things work with brute force, throwing pots of cash at the problem.  That's no good if you can't cover the running costs without constantly begging for government hand-outs and conning investors, which is how he is supporting everything right now and the numbers just don't add up for that changing, ever.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on June 12, 2022, 01:50:44 AM
Just stumbled onto this one from someone who used to believe the hype that basically goes over everything.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC3pnJmYaxA
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: celso on June 12, 2022, 03:27:05 AM
Again, its not about if it delivers, its about can it deliver long-term?  They forbid you from making any modifications to the car and repairs are not economically viable.

From a customer point of view, Tesla is selling cars, battery packs for homes, charging stations, etc, and things seem to work. So they're delivering in that regard. Will they keep delivering when Toyota, Volkswagen, etc, all go electric and start releasing affordable EVs? I don't know, but that seems to be a problem for investors and Elon's pockets, not the consumer.

Starlink, I really have no idea how many users the 2nd gen of their satellites can support and if the satellite-to-satellite connection will work. And that's why I think we should be cautious when looking at overly negative or positive predictions. If we guess that one satellite can support 50 connections and it actually can support 200, then our calculations will be wrong.

Regarding repairs, both remind me of some Apple products. They're expensive, not the easiest to repair, and they're certainly not for everyone.

But you don't need Tesla to change your tires, fix your suspension, change bulbs, or to fix a small bump on your car. Check Bjørn Nyland's (from Norway) channel on YT, some of his maintenance is made on a regular shop that also works on electric cars. This change from ICE cars to electric means that those providing car services will have to learn and change... right now you have less options available, but it's not because it's impossible to fix the cars.

Now, some repairs are too expensive (maybe it's smarter to buy a cheaper car?) and need to be fixed by Tesla. But it's not like you can't salvage an electric motor, install a "refurbished" battery, replace a motherboard repaired by a 3rd party, etc. They won't take responsibility for it, but no brand does when we use after market parts. There are lots of videos of repair shops and "car guys" about this on YT too. Eg:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvlvNS9kQeU

Starlink terminals, I believe you only really need the antenna and the power-over-ethernet connector. Maybe their router is bad, but I using my own router too because I don't like the one PlusNet sent me.

I didn't know, but the cable I talked about on the previous post seems to be replaceable on the new terminal (Dishy v2). Proprietary connector, but at least you can change it.

Its literally called Self Driving, but they admitted its Level 1, which is advanced cruise control at best.

Any system that self-drives "some of the time" but will randomly fail, has no business being used on public roads.  It increases rather than decreases the chance of accidents as it flies in the face of hazard perception, how can you react to a hazard developing if you don't know its a hazard until the self driving system fails?  I haven't driven much, but enough to understand how that's just a terrible situation.  If you're relying on the car to drive itself the majority of the time, you're not going to react as quickly when something goes wrong which can be the difference between life and death.

I believe you're a bit wrong here, if I understand what you're saying correctly. They have the "free" Autopilot, which is essentially a fancy line keeping + adaptable cruise control. From here (https://www.tesla.com/autopilot):

> Autopilot advanced safety and convenience features are designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving. Autopilot introduces new features and improves existing functionality to make your Tesla safer and more capable over time.
> Autopilot enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane.
> Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.

And then they have paid upgrades that unlock the features you mentioned. This is from the UK website, while trying to order a Model 3:

(https://i.imgur.com/u6DVpR8.png)

So, I think there are a few criticisms we can make here.

The first is the name "Autopilot", which may be misleading, but I think it's widely known that the commercial planes we fly on has autopilot and 2 human pilots in the cockpit. If one is too dumb to know that, the car tells the driver to be ready to take over and if they ignore it, it will beep at them. If you try to trick the system and take a nap... is it really the car's fault? At some point we have to take responsibility for what we're doing with our car. It has some problems (https://electrek.co/2022/06/03/tesla-respond-increase-phantom-braking-complaints/), but functionality wise, it's not that different from what many Toyotas (and other brands) have on cars released in the past 5/10 years.

Then there's the "advanced" stuff. This is what I was referring to when I wrote this in my previous comment:

> The only way I could see someone being "scammed" is if they bought the self driving hardware early on. If they do it now, I find it a bit harder to be sad for them because even I know their self driving isn't ready... and I don't even drive. Be it a car, computer, phone, etc, buy it for what it is, not what it may become in the future.

You're paying for something that isn't ready. If I had paid for this a few years ago, I'd be fuming. I mean, changing lines in the motorway should work fine, but there's no full self driving yet. People have been referring to autopilot as "self driving", but Self Driving was only available in 2020 with a restricted beta (https://www.theverge.com/2020/10/22/21528508/tesla-full-self-driving-beta-first-reaction-video) and expanded in September 2021 (https://www.theverge.com/2021/9/26/22693610/tesla-opens-full-self-driving-beta-software-more-customers).

Should you pay in advance before this is ready? I wouldn't. Should it be allowed to be tested in public roads by careless people trying to showoff? Yeah... probably not. Is the system as advanced as it needs to be? I don't think it is.

I think your criticism (edit: and points) are valid here.

What I won't do is side with morons that are not paying attention when using autopilot or similar systems. Be it a Tesla or a fancy Mercedes EV with their own level 2/3 system, they know what the system does, they learn its flaws as they use it, and yet they decide drunk drive, play angry birds, take a nap, check facebook while driving.

What about Tesla trucks that never were manufactured?  What about faulty battery management controllers but they just wrote software to hide the error messages?

The Tesla Semi announced in 2017? It seems to be delayed, I think. The Cybertruck announced in 2019 is also delayed. They're saying production is supposed to start in 2023 in their Texas factory, which - I believe - they only finished this year.

Is there a reason why you're doubting this? I remember the Model 3 and Y being delayed, but they're selling them now. Again, late... but late and scams are different things.

Regarding faulty BMS, what happens in practice? Are cars shutting down randomly, catching fire? Is the "fix" creating any problems? Honest question because I don't know.

Also Tesla aren't good at making battery cells, they buy them from Panasonic and forbid you from replacing the cells or repairing a bad battery management controller, making a new battery pack rather uneconomical.

I follow that Bjørn Nyland channel I mentioned above and the guy tests the different battery packs Tesla and other brands use. I'm working from memory here, but I believe Tesla uses Panasonic for their "performance" cars and LG for their "standard" cars. I don't know if it's all models, but the cheaper Model 3 also uses LFP batteries from CATL.

The batteries I was thinking of are the ones they talked about in 2020 (https://electrek.co/2021/07/26/tesla-update-4680-battery-cell-production/). They're using a new size (4680) and different process (from a company they acquired). This is made by Tesla, not Panasonic. (Search for Tesla Battery Day 2020 on YouTube to see the presentation.) Apparently Panasonic will also make their own bigger batteries for Tesla, but that seems to be the same deal as the current 18650 batteries they buy from Panasonic/LG.

Regarding repairs, I don't know how it will be with the new cars where the battery pack is part of the structure of the car, but at least until now you could remove the battery, replace modules, etc. If you'll find a company in the UK doing this, that's a different question, but they're not going to call the police on you. They just don't want to have anything to do with it if the car catches fire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-B_8oMZNeI

To be clear, Tesla repairs are not easy. Your point is valid.

What I don't know is if they're better or worse than EVs from VW, Mercedes, Audi, Porche, Renault, Volvo, Polestar, etc. I'd be surprised if it was as easy as ICE cars.

As for Starlink vs other services:
Kuiper definitely sounds just as bad as Starlink however.

I still think that is bad mind you, when competitors can achieve global coverage with THREE satellites.  When you're dealing with something as risky as space junk, minimalism is a must.  Its not a case of if we'll no longer be able to launch satellites, but when.  The more go up, the sooner that day will come.

I agree that more satellites is worse.

There two things that we should keep in mind, though:

- Starlink, Kuiper, etc, are in Low Earth Orbit. Pings of 20/30ms if coverage is good.
- ViaSat, Hughes, are in Geostationary orbit. You'll find pings online between 400-600ms.

Now, that image from ULA's Tory Bruno is useful if we're worried about the Kessler syndrome.

We've been sending these big, heavy, and expensive satellites to GEO for years, and they'll be there "forever" (in the "graveyard" orbit) and I assume it's harder to reach them if we start cleaning up space because it's very far away. How good is this?

And then there's LEO where the drag eventually brings stuff down after just a few years. It seems we're about to witness an international commercial space race over the next few years... I could be wrong, but if we're going to have a Kessler syndrome, this seems the best place for a "wake up" call. The chances of me being wrong are high though :P

(https://i.imgur.com/It8azhz.jpg)

Then we have the quality of service. The alternatives with 3 or 4 satellites all have high latencies. Viasat seems to be the best option here, so I looked for speed tests on YouTube... and it's bad. 1-20Mbps and pings of 600ms. The best I could find was this result, which reached 74Mbps down under their 100GB "premium data". But the ping... almost 600ms:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADgdRJmow34

Searched online for ViaSat vs Starlink and the first result on DuckDuckGo is this blog post (https://blog.stesoft.com/index.php/2021/06/01/starlink-vs-viasat-a-quick-test-in-the-woods/) from someone in Arizona. I'd recommend reading it, but essentially the ping is around 700ms with ViaSat which causes problems with calls, SSH doesn't work well, etc. Starlink? Over 300Mbps down, 20Mbps up, ping 33ms, jitter 7ms. During the beta.

I also checked /r/ViaSat (https://old.reddit.com/r/Viasat/). This is what I see:

(https://i.imgur.com/haa3FvV.png)

The first post is calling the service a scam (https://old.reddit.com/r/Viasat/comments/v8urz8/this_is_a_scam/) (ha!). Paying 150 dollars a month (Starlink was 100, now 110) and it seems to be slow. There's a reply, which I find to be a bit... funny:

> When I had Viasat I had no problems streaming Youtube in at least 480p or occasionally streaming sports. I just had to be careful that i didn't go over priority data.

And here am I complaining about my FTTC connection which plays 1440p YouTube just fine (the default picked by them for this high dpi display). :D

There's also this post (https://old.reddit.com/r/Viasat/comments/urrmva/is_viasat_really_that_bad/) from someone asking if is actually that bad. I'll let you read the replies.

I think it's fair to say that ViaSat is way worse than Starlink. Some can get good speeds with ViaSat until a certain point, but there's no way around the latency. I've never used either, but LEO and GEO internet seem to be very different things.

The worse results I see from residential Starlink are like slow/average 4G (40Mbps/10Mbps) while the best ones are up there with good 4G (100-300Mbps/40Mbps). In some cases, even a "slow 4G-like" Starlink is still many times superior to ViaSat.

I don't mean to say with this that we should ignore the problem of so many satellites in space, but you can't do Starlink with 5 or 10 GEO satellites.

Overall when it comes to "what about the stuff Musk has done that works", again, its not about if it works or not - you can make a lot of things work with brute force, throwing pots of cash at the problem.  That's no good if you can't cover the running costs without constantly begging for government hand-outs and conning investors, which is how he is supporting everything right now and the numbers just don't add up for that changing, ever.

Do you mean government contracts? SpaceX seems to operate in the same way (but cheaper) that older space companies do in the US. I don't know enough about US politics to make a comment about that. I don't think SpaceX is making a profit and they're investing a lot in Starship and Starlink. It could be a problem, but I don't know if they're conning investors or running out of money.

If it's EV discounts, governments in the "west" support EVs in these early years because they are more expensive than ICE cars. But this is for everyone, not only Tesla.

If it's the money that Tesla received after the 2008 financial crisis, it was paid back already (https://money.cnn.com/2013/05/22/autos/tesla-loan-repayment/index.html). I don't know if they received more since then.

Tesla made a profit of "$3.3 billion" from "$18.7 billion in revenue" in Q1 2022 (https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/20/23031976/tesla-q1-earnings-profit-elon-musk)... while everyone is struggling with a shortage of chips and other components. Considering that they finished 2 factories, are investing in their own battery tech, keep expanding their charger stations world wide, the work in AI/self driving/custom processors (doesn't sound "cheap"), and working on new cars, is it that bad? Since I don't follow companies and stocks, I don't know if 3.3B is good or bad in this business.

I think the main difference between us is that you're looking at this from an investor point of view and I'm looking at it as a possible customer. If I get what I pay for, I'm happy.

Just stumbled onto this one from someone who used to believe the hype that basically goes over everything.
watch?v=iC3pnJmYaxA

It's a long video, I didn't watch most of it, but why does it matter for you as a customer if the guy was poor or rich, if he was a school dropout or not, if he was the creator of Tesla or bought it early on, etc?

Windows doesn't crash more often just because Bill Gates dropped out from... Harvard University... was from a wealthy family, got lucky with IBM because his mom worked there, tried to control the internet, etc.

I can't afford a Tesla and Starlink isn't for me, but if I was going to buy anything from them, I'd look at the product. Musk's good PR doesn't lower Starlink's latency or increases a Tesla's range.

My suggestion: don't invest in his companies if you don't trust him, don't pay for self driving until it's ready, and look at their products like... products.

I don't know if I'll have the time to write another reply like this, so if I stop posing, it's not because I ran way :P
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on June 12, 2022, 08:19:51 PM
The first is the name "Autopilot", which may be misleading, but I think it's widely known that the commercial planes we fly on has autopilot and 2 human pilots in the cockpit. If one is too dumb to know that, the car tells the driver to be ready to take over and if they ignore it, it will beep at them.

Most people wont have a clue how Autopilot on a plane works whereas pilots will have had extensive training on EXACTLY how to use it, what it does and does not do.  Someone buying a car will not have the same knowledge, nor do you have the same amount of time to react to a problem when you're on a road compared to a plane.

Even if it tells you exactly what it does and does not do in the manual, it has to be to a higher standard as you cannot expect someone who is just making a trip to the shops, potentially with many distractions, to be aware of everything it does and does not do at all times.  I stand by my claim, its dangerous for ANY car to "partly" self drive, as it causes complacency by the driver if most of the time they do not have to steer.  At most it should be able to emergency brake, park, stay in lane, maintain speed on a motorway.  The driver should ALWAYS be the one changing lanes, turning corners, etc.  We have decades of proof that with the best intentions, people become complacent once a majority of the time they don't have to do something, making them slow to react when they are required to.  By its nature, by the time you realise its gone wrong, you may be too late to react.

Its risky to even expect a car to emergency brake:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7lp5f0aqzU
Had this been a real-world scenario with traffic coming in the other direction, things could have gone badly.

My point being, you shouldn't be promoting a system as able to do something unless it can do it 100% of the time.  The driver shouldn't just have their hands on the wheel, they should be steering, braking, etc, you should NEVER be relying on the car to react period.  But this is not how Tesla are promoting their tech however.

Quote
The Tesla Semi announced in 2017? It seems to be delayed, I think. The Cybertruck announced in 2019 is also delayed. They're saying production is supposed to start in 2023 in their Texas factory, which - I believe - they only finished this year.

Is there a reason why you're doubting this? I remember the Model 3 and Y being delayed, but they're selling them now. Again, late... but late and scams are different things.

I can't find the video right now, but this again comes down to economics.  The weight of the batteries required for a truck means the trucks can haul a tiny minority of what a diesel truck can.  Musk made claims about cost per distance, but didn't factor this in, making it appear cheaper and more efficient when its not.

In fact, a lot of the problems come down to energy storage.  We've pretty much peaked with battery storage, we can't make it much more efficient, the laws of physics dictate so.  The only way to make electric trucks work is this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3P_S7pL7Yg

Regarding faulty BMS, what happens in practice? Are cars shutting down randomly, catching fire? Is the "fix" creating any problems? Honest question because I don't know.

Inconsistent range due to improper charging, that's not a small issue especially for long distance travel in rural areas where you could get stuck in the middle of nowhere.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSOHzmqLWjU

As for Viasats negatives, the problem is you're looking at it from a "this is what we want" scenario, rather than "this is what we can do".

We all want perfect broadband that works for everything, but if its not economical or damaging the environment, then we absolutely should NOT be doing that.  The end does not justify the means.

Its the same kind of logic as "we need land for x, lets just cut down all the trees and kill off all the wildlife".  Sure, it will wipe out all life on earth eventually, but things will be fine for a short while.  Are you honestly advocating that we should just ignore all long-term problems in order for a quick fix today?

This is the crux of why I'm critical of Elon Musk, even though I wont be using any of his technology.  Because it WILL impact everyone in the long term.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: celso on June 13, 2022, 02:31:46 AM
Most people wont have a clue how Autopilot on a plane works whereas pilots will have had extensive training on EXACTLY how to use it, what it does and does not do.  Someone buying a car will not have the same knowledge, nor do you have the same amount of time to react to a problem when you're on a road compared to a plane.

Even if it tells you exactly what it does and does not do in the manual, it has to be to a higher standard as you cannot expect someone who is just making a trip to the shops, potentially with many distractions, to be aware of everything it does and does not do at all times.  I stand by my claim, its dangerous for ANY car to "partly" self drive, as it causes complacency by the driver if most of the time they do not have to steer.  At most it should be able to emergency brake, park, stay in lane, maintain speed on a motorway.  The driver should ALWAYS be the one changing lanes, turning corners, etc.  We have decades of proof that with the best intentions, people become complacent once a majority of the time they don't have to do something, making them slow to react when they are required to.  By its nature, by the time you realise its gone wrong, you may be too late to react.

Its risky to even expect a car to emergency brake:
watch?v=p7lp5f0aqzU
Had this been a real-world scenario with traffic coming in the other direction, things could have gone badly.

My point being, you shouldn't be promoting a system as able to do something unless it can do it 100% of the time.  The driver shouldn't just have their hands on the wheel, they should be steering, braking, etc, you should NEVER be relying on the car to react period.  But this is not how Tesla are promoting their tech however.

Autopilot is cruise control+line keeping.

I understand if non-Tesla owners don't know the difference between this and full self driving, but I find it hard to believe that owners don't have a basic idea of what the system does:

1. When ordering a car, you are told the differences between Autopilot and the other paid options. You can't skip the page.
2. Autopilot needs to be enabled manually and the displays tell you what you should do (be ready to take over, pay attention).
3. If you remove your hands from the steering wheel, after a while you'll see and hear warnings to hold the wheel. Newer cars have a camera pointed at the driver too.
4. As you use the feature, you understand and experience its limitations.

Most Tesla owners are informed by point 1, 2, and 3. For those renting, leasing, and buying used cars, there's still points 2 and 3 (no one escapes this).

The system itself isn't special. It maintains speed, distance, and keeps the car inside the lines. Compared to others, it's actually good. My father owns a 2016 Toyota and there are buttons in the steering wheel to set cruise control, increase/decrease speed, etc... but the car doesn't slow down, keep a certain distance, steers, etc. If you don't brake yourself, you'll hit whatever is in front of you.

It's a valid opinion to think that such incomplete systems shouldn't allowed on the road, but if some youtuber uses this as a "prof" that Tesla (or any other brand) is bad and a scam, I just can't take them seriously.

The reason I put part of the blame on the user here is simple. You are the person in control and you *have* to correct the car's mistakes. There have been accidents with Autopilot where the driver was seeing the problem for a few seconds (eg: a truck crossing the road ahead) and they did nothing. You have this huge thing pulling in front of you and... no reaction? Some people will adapt to these systems better than others, but if you're not good with it, why would you keep using it?

And then you have those who work around the system to be on the phone or something like that... this is where I have zero tolerance. It's a "people that shouldn't be allowed on the road" problem, not a problem with the car systems.

My opinion would be completely different if Autopilot was self driving, but it isn't. You need hardware, an account with good score, join the beta, see a few more warnings to use that. If the car tells the driver that it can't self drive and the driver ignores everything and then crashes, I find it hard to blame the car.

Anyway, clearly the "autopilot" name is a problem, so much so they're being investigated in the US and I just read a news article how they may have to be forced to "recall" the software. They should just call it "adaptable cruise control with line assist". I'm sure that would end the "confusion".

I've watched that video, he's using autopilot. Is it expected for cruise control to bring the car to a stop or go to the other lane to avoid a crash?

I now his videos because there was a discussion a few months ago over at Hacker News about him. He worked for Tesla and made videos of his own car using the self drive beta. It didn't look good (the software is clearly not ready!), but he also would let the car do the mistake instead of taking over. He was fired from Tesla and access to the beta was removed from his account.

Firing him doesn't look good for Tesla. If the beta software is so good, why hide it? On the other hand, it also doesn't look good to have an employer letting the car hit things on a public road. The "tesla employer shows how bad their self drive is" headlines probably didn't help.

I can't find the video right now, but this again comes down to economics.  The weight of the batteries required for a truck means the trucks can haul a tiny minority of what a diesel truck can.  Musk made claims about cost per distance, but didn't factor this in, making it appear cheaper and more efficient when its not.

In fact, a lot of the problems come down to energy storage.  We've pretty much peaked with battery storage, we can't make it much more efficient, the laws of physics dictate so.  The only way to make electric trucks work is this:
watch?v=_3P_S7pL7Yg

I'll wait to see what they'll do. I remember reading something about them renting the truck instead of selling them? I don't think anyone was scammed. Worst case there's no truck or it's not a viable product and anyone thinking of renting can use something else or pull out of any deals (I believe that's how it usually goes).

The factory where the Semi is going to be manufactured was completed in Q1 (from the info I found online, could be wrong). Their information for investors says 2023. We'll see what happens soon, I guess.

The idea from that Tom Scott video is interesting, in some places they already use the idea for buses, but I don't know if countries will go with different solutions when it's easier (just the amount of complaints about how the wires look...) to have chargers and more frequent stops. I don't know what's the solution most countries will pick.

Inconsistent range due to improper charging, that's not a small issue especially for long distance travel in rural areas where you could get stuck in the middle of nowhere.

watch?v=eSOHzmqLWjU

I wasn't aware. If that's the case, then they should fix the faulty hardware. No excuses or bs fixes.

This is not a "what about X" excuse, but since some of the videos in this thread are about tesla/spacex being scams, we should keep in mind that this is the expected behaviour from most car manufacturers (one of the reasons why we shouldn't be "loyal" to a brand). For example, the Chevrolet Bolt/Opel Ampera-e received a few software updates before they finally replaced all batteries for free.

As for Viasats negatives, the problem is you're looking at it from a "this is what we want" scenario, rather than "this is what we can do".

We all want perfect broadband that works for everything, but if its not economical or damaging the environment, then we absolutely should NOT be doing that.  The end does not justify the means.

Its the same kind of logic as "we need land for x, lets just cut down all the trees and kill off all the wildlife".  Sure, it will wipe out all life on earth eventually, but things will be fine for a short while.  Are you honestly advocating that we should just ignore all long-term problems in order for a quick fix today?

This is the crux of why I'm critical of Elon Musk, even though I wont be using any of his technology.  Because it WILL impact everyone in the long term.

I'm with you in regard to the negative side effects of so many satellites. I also don't see myself using any satellite based internet, so my "defence" of it isn't because I want to have it... but we need to be realistic. Other space alternatives aren't as good and like it or not, this is happening.

There are many places without internet/ground networks or with a really bad service, so there's demand from regular people for good space based internet. And then you have things like the military, network providers looking for "backhaul" when land based isn't available/is more expensive, companies wanting fast and cheap internet in their ships and planes, etc. The demand is there and if company/country A doesn't do it, company/country B will.

I don't expect everyone to reach a compromise and use just one constellation because the countries that can do this don't trust each other. That's why we have GPS, Galileo, Glonass, Beidu, etc, even though they do the same thing. I guess someone could ban these constellations, but good luck trying to get everyone to agree or to enforce the ban.

Musk could cancel Starlink tomorrow and de-orbit all satellites. Instead of 6 or 7 by the end of the decade, we'd have one less network. I'd rather start working on something to manage the orbits of all these satellites because just like the trees being cut down, those satellites will be up there.

About Musk himself, I don't get the "cult" of loving or hating the guy and he sometimes seems to be a bit of a tw*t, but that doesn't make Starlink more or less viable. What "trigged" my reply here was the speeds and comparison with fibre(!) and not accounting for other sources of revenue. I'm probably wrong about some things, but that video has its problems :P

Anyway, I don't think I can add much more to this. Time will tell if his companies and respective products/services are good or not.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: digbey on June 13, 2022, 12:16:12 PM

The idea from that Tom Scott video is interesting, in some places they already use the idea for buses, but I don't know if countries will go with different solutions when it's easier (just the amount of complaints about how the wires look...) to have chargers and more frequent stops. I don't know what's the solution most countries will pick.

Looks like they've reinvented the trolleybus. Single deck and double decker buses like this were operating in many cities in the UK from 1911 to 1972 and are still in use in some European cities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolleybus

In the 1950's I used to go to school in a London Transport double deck trolleybus, it was always preferable to the noisy diesels.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: celso on June 13, 2022, 09:18:21 PM
Looks like they've reinvented the trolleybus. Single deck and double decker buses like this were operating in many cities in the UK from 1911 to 1972 and are still in use in some European cities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolleybus

In the 1950's I used to go to school in a London Transport double deck trolleybus, it was always preferable to the noisy diesels.

I didn't know London used to have those. When I moved here ~15 years ago, every bus I used was noisy. Then they introduced hybrids.

At least on some of them the engine is only there to generate electricity for the electric motors/battery. Often the bus starts moving quietly and then you can hear (and feel) when the engine kicking in (apparently this still more efficient than using a diesel engine powering everything).

Now there are some routes with fully electric buses. They're quieter. The air conditioning still makes noise though (first world problems... :lol: ):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e13m-vOU2mU

I wonder if a system with pads on the ground at main bus stops could. The people behind this system claim good results (no idea if it's actually the case or not):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aq7SP18sPKw
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on June 14, 2022, 07:37:37 AM
Yeah hybrid is great, as I understand it you use a ton of fuel accelerating so if you do that with electric instead from a battery (which can be trickle-charged when driving), then I can see why that would be far more efficient.   I've been in a few Ubers using hybrids too, they're a much nicer, quieter ride.  Though in a dense city environment, I can see how fully electric can work for things like buses too, especially if they can figure out how to charge when sat at the terminus.

Unfortunately I do not believe induction pads are an option. They're insanely inefficient so you're wasting at best 2/3 of the power consumed, I'd suspect a lot more given the huge gap between the coils.  The same reason so many wireless power companies have completely failed.

It works for charging phones as the coils are mm apart, and even there its about 40% efficient.  It works great for cooking, as you WANT to create heat, and that's where that other 60% is going.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: celso on June 14, 2022, 01:03:12 PM
I don't have the equipment to test, but I've read that the latest iPhone using Apple's charger can get up to ~75%. More efficient components cost more though. I doubt my OnePlus 8 Pro with the cheap wireless charger I have (cheap one from Aliexpress) can be that good. I should test and compare it to the cable I normally use.

In any case, I don't think wireless will ever beat a wired solution, but I'm not seeing them installing those overhead cables in cities these days... a cell tower is what it is, imagine cables and everything needed to support them.

Maybe something like this could work? Use batteries and a capacitor, then charge the capacitor in places you know the bus/truck will stop/pass?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_electric_vehicle
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Bowdon on June 14, 2022, 06:54:49 PM
I've not watched the video in the OP. But I've never thought things like Starlink and other similar businesses will be able to compete along side (the new) traditional methods like full fibre and the 5/4G technologies.

I think it would be a good backup, or to cover areas that conventional systems struggle for a financial case to cover.

But I think it'll end up having to drop its price as it'll be a third class system (behind fibre/cable and mobile broadband) technology.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on June 14, 2022, 08:29:37 PM
But I think it'll end up having to drop its price as it'll be a third class system (behind fibre/cable and mobile broadband) technology.

The crux of the matter is at its CURRENT prices, it runs at such a large loss that it can never be profitable.

The old dish cost them $2000 to make and they only charged a $500 installation fee, I doubt the new one is so dramatically cheaper that its now profitable.
.
More importantly, it costs $67 million to launch a Falcon 9 rocket.  Even if that's carrying 143 sattelites, if you do the maths it simply doesn't add up.  The last launch only carried 53, and every one of those satellites only has a 5 year expected lifespan.

Maybe something like this could work? Use batteries and a capacitor, then charge the capacitor in places you know the bus/truck will stop/pass?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_electric_vehicle

Its an interesting idea, but the infrastructure would be a nightmare as every time the bus stops it would put a huge load on the electricity grid.

Also having seen small capacitors explode, I'm not sure I like the idea of sitting on a super-capacitor.  :-\
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: celso on June 14, 2022, 11:59:34 PM
SpaceX sells a Falcon 9 launch to 3rd parties for $67 million and offers "modest discounts" for multiple launches (March 2022):

https://www.spacex.com/media/Capabilities&Services.pdf

Even if one ignores the rumours about it costing them half this amount to launch and the fact they re-use the same booster many times for Starlink launches, it makes no sense to assume they make no money on launches and that they even make a loss on customers that launch more than once.

According to this article (https://www.theverge.com/2021/11/11/22776563/spacex-starlink-rectangular-dish-router-mounting-internet-satellites) from November 2021, SpaceX says the original cost of the dish was $3000. In April 2021 it was around $1500 (according to the CNBC article this page links to) and was $1300 when this article was posted in November. They quote Gwynne Shotwell saying that "The ones we will have later this year will cost roughly half of what our current user terminals cost". Half of $1300 is $650 (edit: or $750, if we use the $1500 from April).

In March 2022 they increased the price (https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/22/22991841/spacex-starlink-price-hike-inflation-user-terminal) of their kit from $499 to $599.

The whole thing may never be profitable, but you're using inflated numbers Alex.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: kitz on June 15, 2022, 12:32:02 AM
I'm unable to confirm those figures which seem astronomical.  I'm also sceptical of YouTube sceptic type articles. "Debunking Starlink" by 'Common Sense Skeptic'" alerts me to the type of audience the author is trying to appeal to.... and that the topic is likely to have an axe to grind or full of conspiracies.   
That said, the author name and article title ignored, he does raise some valid concerns. Even without checking figures, the project seems unviable purely because it relies on the assumption that such as large number of subscribers would be needed to return a profit... and more importantly its not bringing anything new to the table that would actually advance broadband technology.  When the rest of the world is trying to expand FTTH networks consumers will not be interested in a slower product with extremely high latency costing more than double. 

One of the things I have noticed is that a lot of Americans dont understand the technology - Why should they?   Just like here, many of them have no idea of the difference between satellite, wifi and cell.  Another thing I've noticed is outside of the major cities, there doesnt seem to be many major advancement plans to roll out FTTH.   There is no equivalent of Openreach roll-out.   Many towns and even cities have ISPs who are localised.  I have a friend in Albuquerque and I'm truly amazed at limitations for broadband.  Whilst city centre may have FTTC, just 10 miles from the city center choice is very limited.  My friend has recently moved nearer to the University of NewMexico  where she works, but previously just 15mins from work she was limited to satellite.   The ISP was basically a one man band and her connection used to be notoriously slow. Hard to believe when its not like she lived in the middle of nowhere.

Was going to type more, but am going to have to cease soon...   questions such as why the FCC as a regulator isnt doing more when it comes to gov funding.  It should know what is feasible and what isnt. 

As regards to the super highway trucks, I was reminded of railroad transportation. Somehow I cant imagine one lane working like that for the M25. 
I even have doubts if electric & batteries really are a more efficient form of power... especially when fossil fuels are needed to charge the batteries. 
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on June 15, 2022, 02:53:47 AM
Yeah I have a friend in Texas, his parents only got FTTC last year.  Although I think he might have access to Cable but despises the company.  Some Americans seem to have some very odd loyalty to telcos, even when they HAVE options.

Not entirely sure what speed him or his parents have as he doesn't consistently max out my upload, but transferring data to Texas bottlenecks even to a VPS.

Electric vehicles is working on the assumption at some point we'll only have nuclear, wind and solar, with some kind of storage.  Not sure its feasible, especially anything we'd have to import from abroad.

Its also unclear if solar is remotely clean, given making the panels uses a lot of energy and they're toxic so problematic if they do not get recycled at the end of life.  You don't want solar panels in landfill, then again half the things people put in the household waste probably shouldn't be either.

SpaceX sells a Falcon 9 launch to 3rd parties for $67 million and offers "modest discounts" for multiple launches (March 2022):

https://www.spacex.com/media/Capabilities&Services.pdf

Even if one ignores the rumours about it costing them half this amount to launch and the fact they re-use the same booster many times for Starlink launches, it makes no sense to assume they make no money on launches and that they even make a loss on customers that launch more than once.

According to this article (https://www.theverge.com/2021/11/11/22776563/spacex-starlink-rectangular-dish-router-mounting-internet-satellites) from November 2021, SpaceX says the original cost of the dish was $3000. In April 2021 it was around $1500 (according to the CNBC article this page links to) and was $1300 when this article was posted in November. They quote Gwynne Shotwell saying that "The ones we will have later this year will cost roughly half of what our current user terminals cost". Half of $1300 is $650 (edit: or $750, if we use the $1500 from April).

In March 2022 they increased the price (https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/22/22991841/spacex-starlink-price-hike-inflation-user-terminal) of their kit from $499 to $599.

The whole thing may never be profitable, but you're using inflated numbers Alex.

I think this says it all really https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/elon-musk-predicted-starlink-would-generate-%2430-billion-in-revenue.-dont-believe-it.-2021
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: celso on June 15, 2022, 05:23:56 AM
I'm sorry, it's not my intention to get personal, but you are ignoring information that doesn't fit your view and one simply can't reach proper conclusions by doing that.

- It doesn't cost SpaceX 67 million to launch their own rocket with their own payload. If it's half of the cost, they can launch 2x more rockets for the same price. You can't ignore this when it's a big part of Starlink costs.

- The price of their terminal is indeed a problem and you are correct to point it out. But they seem to have that mostly under control, yet you're using the $2000 number from more than a year ago. Breaking even or subsidising 100-200 dollars isn't the same as giving 1500 dollars away.

- Previously, you and the youtuber failed to account for the revenue from other sources, and anyone that pays attention to military/financial contracts knows that they will not pay 99 dollars for the service. Not to mention the assumption that this is competing with fibre users.

So you over estimate the cost of launch, how much they're losing with the hardware, and ignore what is likely to be a substantial part of their revenue. Don't you see a problem with this?

Now you linked to that early 2021 article. Musk is wrong about a lot of stuff, so he's probably going to miss that 30 billion target. But again, you're supporting your position by using an article that uses outdated information to make an assessment on the future of Starlink. They're assuming the satellites/capacity will remain the same and that they'll be launched on Falcon 9! This is not true!

I'll quote part of this article: https://www.zdnet.com/article/elon-musk-says-starship-needs-work-to-send-spacex-starlink-2-0-satellites-into-orbit/

Quote
Elon Musk has admitting he is banking on Starship, a launch rocket currently in development, to get SpaceX's next generation Starlink satellites into orbit.

"We need Starship to work and to fly frequently, or Starlink 2.0 will be stuck on the ground," the tech billionaire told YouTube show Everyday Astronaut.

He explained that sending Starlink 2.0 into orbit with the company's Falcon 9 rockets, which were used to send the first generation of Starlink satellites into space, is not plausible.

"Falcon has neither the volume nor the mass to orbit capability required for Starlink 2.0. Even if we shrunk the satellite down, the total up mass of Falcon is not nearly enough to do Starlink 2.0," Musk said.

According to Musk, the first Starlink 2.0 has already been produced, weighing about 1.25 tonnes and measures about seven metres long. He also believes Starlink 2.0 will supersede by an order of magnitude SpaceX's first generation of Starlink satellites.

This is not new information. The new satellites have more capacity. They're not going to use Falcon 9 to launch most of their satellites.

If after being presented by new information, backed with sources, you still insist on using outdated information or ignore some stuff, then all replies here have been a waste of time.

To be clear: Starlink may fail. I don't know if they'll manage to have enough customers and revenue to be successful. The problem for me, in the context of this thread, is that you and that youtuber are using bad information to reach the conclusion that it will fail.
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: neil on August 12, 2022, 08:42:50 PM
so far not allowed to operate here
Title: Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on August 13, 2022, 12:22:42 AM
The problem is, you are using figures by SpaceX themselves, which are unrealistic.  They're all goals, not based on reality.

Several debunkers have covered how SpaceX claims of revenue for selling space for payloads is insane - there isn't nearly that much demand for launching things into space.  Not to mention the environmental damage from burning all that fuel.

Plus as already pointed out, if Starlink do launch as many satellites as planned, the space junk problem will quickly become such a problem that the whole thing comes tumbling down, including far more essential satellites.  We will no longer be able to launch anything into space ever again.  We wont be able to monitor for meteors, or have GPS, etc.

I fail to see how people in rural locations having lower latency broadband is worth that very high price, even IF the project was economical, which it inherently never will be.