Tagged With satellites

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Optus owns and maintains the largest fleet of satellites across Australia, but at the same time the number-two telco can't rival its larger competitor Telstra for mobile network coverage in rural and remote parts of Australia. It makes sense, then, for Optus to boost its coverage in black spots using a series of small cells — lower-powered portable radio nodes that are much easier to install than a full mobile tower — that connect to its satellite network. And that's exactly what the company is doing.

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Earlier this autumn, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner casually announced his intention to develop spacecraft that can travel at up to 20 per cent the speed of light and reach Alpha Centauri within 20 years. From the outset, it was clear that no humans would be making the warp jump — the mission will involve extremely lightweight robotic spacecraft. A new fleet of tiny satellites hints at what those future interstellar voyagers will look like and be capable of.

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NBN's broadband satellite service, Sky Muster, is now being sold to customers via ISPs, and boasts an average end user speed of 25/5Mbps as part of its goal to bring high speed internet to regional Australia. The satellite launched in October last year, and has since been trialled by over 200 households in regional and remote areas — who now have access to better connection speeds than many Australian city-dwellers.

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Two months ago, astronomers picked up and then pinpointed the location of a weird burst of radio waves from space, prompting heated debate about the possible source of the signals. Now, new data has finally revealed that source — and it's not such a big mystery after all. Move along, nothing to see here: Just a star-gobbling supermassive black hole burping out some excess radio waves.

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Video: Any number of forces can mess up a spacecraft's flight path on its way to where it needs to go, however spinning helps average those torques to add stability to the trajectory. But when a satellite does successfully reaches orbit, how does it stop spinning?

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Sending things into space is obviously expensive as hell. One of the many, amny reasons why is the manufacturing process: everything that goes in or on a space vehicle has to be built in a clean environment, and there's more to it than just being generous with the bleach.