Elon Musk revealed the challenge behind launching SpaceX’s Starlink satellite service for phones but remained confident that it is possible to provide this ‘Direct-to-cell’ service.
What Happened: In a conversation with Peter H. Diamandis, founder and executive chairman of XPrize Foundation, Musk underlined the challenges behind getting started with the satellite connectivity service for phones.
“It is a challenge because we have to emulate a cell tower on the ground in order for the phones to pick up a signal. So, we have to do Doppler [Shift] Compensation, for example,” Musk told Diamandis.
But what exactly is Musk talking about? Simply put, Doppler Shift Compensation (DSC) refers to techniques used to compensate for Doppler Shift.
Now, what is Doppler Shift? Here’s an illustration: imagine a car driving past you with its siren on. As the car approaches, the siren’s sound seems higher-pitched due to the relative motion.
Doppler Shift causes problems like distorted data and loss of synchronization, which makes it difficult to use satellites for phone connectivity.
SpaceX has to deploy DSC to make its satellites usable for phone connectivity services. The Musk-led company launched its first satellites for ‘Direct-to-cell’ service on Tuesday.
“We’re confident that even if these early satellites don’t work, we’re confident from a physics standpoint that it can work,” Musk said.
Why It Matters: Starlink’s satellite connectivity service already has over 2.3 million customers across 70 countries. Expanding this service to smartphones could be the next step in increasing its reaching a much wider customer base.
It is worth noting that satellite connectivity is aimed at those users who don’t have reliable connectivity to cell or broadband services, especially in remote areas.
Image Credits – Shutterstock
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