A professor from the University College of London claims to have simulated Elon Musks StarLink project for world-wide internet using his own customized interface.
Mark Handley is professor of Networked Systems at the Department of Computer Science, University College London. He appears to have released a video that depicts how their global network of satellites mat work towards providing the world access to internet. The digital divide is well known phenomena whereby only a fraction of the worlds population can access the internet. Musk and StarLink hope to resolve that, along with other companies like Google.
Apparently the graphics were generated using a video-game engine
Handley was quoted saying “I’ve written network simulators before, but I don’t normally write them in a game engine,” Handley told Digital Trends. “However, in this case, being able to visualize the motion of the constellation was crucial to understanding what was going on. It’s just so much more intuitive what’s happening when you can watch it. At the low level of detail of these simulations, the problem is essentially a 3D geometry problem, and a game engine is actually really well suited to exploring such problems.”
According to Handley, he does still wonder how each satellites orbital path can be engineered accurately enough to assume this complex mesh-like clockwork formation seen in the video, considering all of them must be transported 1100 kilometres upward first. A legitimate concern, however, many organizations are preparing to move aerospace construction up, in to orbit instead. For example asteroid mining could provide the resources necessary for automatic 3D printing of satellites that can be eased in to orbit by magneto-plasma rockets.
Handley’s conclusion? “Yes, I think the concept is overall feasible,” he said. “It’s difficult though, and SpaceX [is] pushing the limits of technology in several areas simultaneously. Their use of phased array wireless links to steer narrow beams to and from the satellites will be pushing the limits of what has been done. This is mostly known technology, but doing it to the degree they’re doing it will be challenging. The use of free-space laser links between satellites is relatively unknown technology. [The European Space Agency] previously demonstrated that it was possible, but SpaceX will need to track more targets simultaneously and achieve higher data rates. I have confidence it can be done, but it may take some time to really get right.”
EDIT: Space-X just got approval to launch nearly 12 000 satellites into orbit .