The idea of space-based telecommunications seemed so promising in the 1980s, but the delivered services didn’t quite live up to the dream of ubiquitous global communications. Al Franken’s one-man satellite reporting didn’t really address the latency issues associated with geosynchronous satellite orbits, but the future of satellite communications was still a bad joke. Perhaps after a few decades, we’re ready for another try?
- Elon Musk’s SpaceX intends to create a constellation of 4,000 small/cheap satellites to provide high speed internet all over the world. Billionaires have tried this concept before, but maybe this time, the economics of cheaper satellites and rocket systems will make it a more feasible venture. [url]
- Iridium is the usual example of a global satellite network that was supposed to provide an always-on telecom network anywhere in the world. Iridium Next is actually set to replace the original aging Iridium satellites — launched from SpaceX rockets in the largest commercial launch contract ever signed in 2010. The original business wasn’t exactly a success, and given some of the lackluster specs of the planned replacement satellites, the next revision might not be much better. [url]
- OneWeb is looking to build around 900 satellites to deliver internet connections all over the world. If all these plans actually pan out, it’ll be a bit strange to see more competition in the satellite internet industry than in the terrestrial wireline internet business. [url]
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