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Elon Musk''s Internet for Everyone Is Coming Very Soon

馬斯克面向所有人的星鏈互聯網即將問世



Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics · April 24, 2020
Elon Musk says SpaceX''s ambitious Starlix satellite internet setup has made great steps toward providing good internet to previously low-priority locations. Musk’s Starlix plan accounts for an eventual 40,000 satellites in orbit to blanket the globe in internet coverage, far surpassing any existing satellite internet service.

埃隆·馬斯克表示,太空探索技術公司雄心勃勃的“星鏈”衛星互聯網計劃已經在為先前的低優先級地區提供優質互聯網方面取得了重大進展。馬斯克的星鏈計劃最終將在軌道上部署4萬顆衛星來實現覆蓋全球的互聯網,遠遠超過任何現有的衛星互聯網服務。

In the near term, however, Musk has said his goal for Starlix is to get to communities that have had almost no internet options until now. For these communities, Musk says, the “private beta” testing phase should begin in a few months, with public beta in six months.

然而馬斯克表示,在短期內他的目標是讓星鏈進入那些到目前為止幾乎沒有互聯網選擇的社區。馬斯克表示對于這些社區來說,應該會在幾個月內開始“內測”階段,公開測試將在六個月后開始。

Like Musk’s battery farm in rural South Australia, Starlix has always been a solution to help mostly rural, underserved communities. While rollouts of faster and better internet infrastructure have started in cities—often in university towns and government laboratory areas—places with small populations and no research facilities are last in the pecking order. Something like a third of rural Americans still don’t have high-speed internet as an option.

就像馬斯克在澳大利亞南部農村的電池農場一樣,星鏈一直是一個幫助大部分農村地區和服務不足社區的解決方案。盡管更快、更好的互聯網基礎設施已經在城市(通常是大學城和政府實驗室)開始投入使用,但人口少、沒有研究機構的地方排名最后。大約三分之一的美國農村人仍然沒有高速互聯網服務。

The broadband internet network that covers the U.S. is like a circulatory system. Major arteries run from big city to big city, then smaller branches cover those cities and extend to nearby suburbs and exurbs. Hubs in those smaller cities branch out to reach more towns.

覆蓋美國的寬帶互聯網絡就像一個循環系統。大動脈從一個大城市延伸到另一個大城市,然后較小的分支覆蓋這些城市并延伸到附近的郊區和遠郊。從這些較小城市的中心擴展到更多的城鎮。

People in the smallest communities, whether unincorporated developments or farmhouses, must often be reached one at a time. They end up being the costliest places to reach with service.

在最小的社區里,無論是未公司的開發項目還是農舍,通常一個分支只能覆蓋一個人。最終它們成為服務成本最高的地方。

To circumvent that entire system, Musk and satellite internet providers before him have simply put internet into space—so instead of waiting for a physical line to reach them, these customers have internet rain on them from above. Like satellite TV, this has always been wireless by nature. But to put enough satellites in orbit to cover the world requires a huge investment in infrastructure in space. This is where Musk’s planned thousands of Starlix satellites have an advantage.

為了繞過整個系統,馬斯克和他之前的衛星互聯網提供商只是簡單的把互聯網放入太空——如此這些客戶就不必等待物理線路到達他們那里,互聯網就會如雨點般從天而降。就像衛星電視一樣,它本質上也總是無線的。但要將足夠多的衛星送入軌道來覆蓋全球,就需要在太空基礎設施方面進行巨額投資。馬斯克計劃中的數千顆星鏈衛星有一項優勢。

When Musk says high altitudes first, he’s addressing a specific problem that satellite internet has had for decades. Because of the way most satellites orbit, these services have been much better for people at lower latitudes. Commercials for these services, in the Northern Hemisphere at least, say outright that “all you need is a view of the southern sky.” But half the world’s population lives above 27 degrees of latitude—that’s nearly four degrees higher than even the Tropic of Cancer.

當馬斯克說到高海拔優先時,他正在解決一個衛星互聯網幾十年來一直存在的具體問題。由于大多數衛星的軌道運行方式,這些服務對低緯度地區的人們來說要好得多。這些服務的廣告,至少在北半球會直截了當地說:“你所需要的就是看一下南邊的天空?!钡侨澜缬幸话肴松钤诰暥?7度以上的地區,比北回歸線還要高4度。

Musk’s secret weapon is quantity. By putting tens of thousands of satellites in orbit and connecting them in a network with one another, he says he can ensure smart global coverage in a way no one ever has. Each solar-powered Starlix satellite will have sensors and thrusters so it can detect its location and stay in line.

馬斯克的秘密武器是數量。他說通過將成千上萬顆衛星送入軌道,并把它們彼此聯為一個網絡,就能夠以一種前所未有的方式確保對全球進行智能覆蓋。每顆太陽能星鏈衛星都將配備傳感器和推進器,這樣它們就能感知到自己的位置并保持在一條直線上。

Musk also says these satellites will safely deorbit at end of life without leaving behind unnecessary space garbage. Indeed, as both rural and urban children without internet access struggle with COVID-19 (coronavirus)-induced homeschooling, Starlix seems more necessary than ever.

馬斯克還表示這些衛星將在生命結束時安全的脫離軌道,而不會留下不必要的太空垃圾。事實上,由于沒有互聯網接入的農村和城市兒童都在與COVID-19作斗爭,從而導致在家上學,星鏈互聯網似乎比以往任何時候都更有必要。