Reports are now out that tech billionaire Elon Musk has finally filed for a trademark registration for ‘STARLINK’–the supposed name of his future SpaceX satellite network.
It was in 2015 when Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced his multibillion-dollar SpaceX satellite network project that will provide cheaper and faster broadband internet access to people worldwide.
Musk’s ambitious satellite constellation was projected to support bandwidth that could carry up to 50 percent of all back haul communications traffic and up to 10 percent of local internet traffic in high-density cities.
Apparently, each satellite in the planned constellation will weigh about 850 lbs pr 386 kg. Its size was said to be around the size of a Mini Cooper car.
But, to make this a reality, Musk’s SpaceX must launch 4,425 satellites in orbit around Earth. If you are not aware of it, 1,459 active satellites are currently orbiting our planet, and approximately 2,600 inactive satellites are floating in space according to the Union of Concerned Scientists database.
The past couple of years saw Musk’s SpaceX satellite network some astounding progress, with filing the federal trademark for Starlink as the latest.
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Starlink – The Future SpaceX Satellite Network
According to reports, Space Exploration Technologies Corp, with office address in Hawthorne, CA 90250, filed a U.S. federal trademark for STARLINK on August 21, 2017.
STARLINK trademark was assigned by United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with trademark serial number 87576978. The registration was filed by Brendan Hughes of Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, a law firm specializing in intellectual property and patents.
Further information from the USPTO database states that Starlink was filed in the category of Communications Services, Computer & Software Services & Scientific Services. Currently, the application is still awaiting examination. According to USPTO, new applications will be assigned to an examining attorney approximately 3 months after the filing date.
So, right now, all we need is to sit back and wait for Musk to make an official announcement about Starlink anytime soon. For the meantime, here’s a short recap of what has been happening with SpaceX satellite network project since 2015.
At a private event at Seattle Center, Musk announced his plans of providing satellite-based Internet to people. In an interview with Businessweek, Musk said that it would cost $10 billion to get the Internet service off the ground. He said:
“Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date.”
That same month, a new SpaceX satellite development facility in Redmond, Washington was opened by the company for building the new communication network.
SpaceX announced its plans of launching two prototypes into space in 2016.
SpaceX acquired a 740 square meters creative space in Irvine CA which, according to job listings, will have offices for signal processing, RFIC, and ASUC development for the SpaceX satellite network program.
The initial launching date for the two prototype satellites. However, due to design changes, the launch was scheduled to 2017.
Apparently, SpaceX wanted to focus more on achieving the sufficiently low-cost design for the user equipment, aiming for something that can ostensibly install easily at end-user premises for approximately US$200.
SpaceX filed an application with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) for a “non-geostationary orbit satellite system in the Fixed-Satellite Service using the Ku and Ka frequency bands.”
This FCC application is for the launching of 4,425 low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites operating in 83 orbital planes at an altitude ranging from 1,110 to 1,325 km.
SpaceX filed another application with FCC for its plans to field a constellation of more than 7,500 V-band low-Earth orbiting (VLEO) satellites.
The VLEO satellites will operate at an altitude of 335.9 to 345.6 km. Note that the International Space Station (ISS) is currently flying and orbiting Earth at an altitude of 400 km.
In a statement last May, Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s vice president of satellite government affairs announced that the company would start testing the satellites themselves, launching one prototype before the end of 2017 and another during the early months of 2018.
Following these test launches, the company plans to begin the SpaceX satellite network launch campaign in 2019. Cooper, in a statement before the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology confirmed:
“The remaining satellites in the constellation will be launched in phases through 2024.”
“In the future, these satellites would provide additional broadband capacity to the SpaceX system and further reduce latency where populations are heavily concentrated,” Cooper went on to say.