Virginia company connects mobile phones directly to satellites

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Space startup Lynk says it has successfully demonstrated the ability to use ordinary, unmodified mobile telephones to connect to satellite Internet services. The Virginia-based company sent its "Shannon" satellite into orbit as part of a rideshare mission on a Falcon 9 rocket. After some initial tests, the company said "hundreds" of mobile phones in the United States, United Kingdom, and the Bahamas were able to connect with the satellite as it passed overhead, as if it were a virtual cell phone tower in space. Satellite Internet is all the rage in the space and telecommunications industry, with companies such as SpaceX, OneWeb, Amazon, Telesat, and more launching or planning large constellations of satellites to deliver broadband Internet. But all of these services will require a terminal of sorts, perhaps akin to a DirecTV satellite dish, to send and receive signals to low Earth orbit. The difference with Lynk, according to Co-Founder and CEO Charles Miller, is that with its satellite there is no terminal needed, nor even software to download. The service is intended to serve remote areas where a customer's mobile provider, such as T-Mobile or Verizon in the US, does not have coverage. With limited bandwidth, the service will initially only offer text messages. Eventually, there will be enough satellites to serve broadband Internet, Miller said.

A Virginia company has connected mobile phones directly to satellites