On Feb 27, the first six of satellites of Greg Wyler's company, OneWeb, are expected to be launched from a remote launch site in French Guiana, a key step toward building out a constellation that could eventually reach nearly 2,000. If the company's plans are successful, it would be nothing short of revolutionary: becoming one of the world’s largest providers of Internet service by building the architecture in space, allowing the billions without access to Wi-Fi to finally use the Web. “The ultimate goal is to connect every school in the world, and bridge the digital divide,” Wyler said.
The Federal Communications Commission approved the requests of four companies—Space Exploration Holdings, LLC (SpaceX), Kepler Communications, Inc. (Kepler), Telesat Canada (Telesat), and LeoSat MA, Inc. (LeoSat)— seeking to roll-out new and expanded services using proposed non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) satellites. These proposed satellite systems are expected to enable fixed-satellite service in the United States. The FCC approved:
The internet is an invisible mesh that enables instantaneous global communications, but delivering all those bits quickly to more people in more places requires increasingly exotic approaches. Here are a few things you may not realize about how communication pipes work around the world:
Apparently, SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk flew to the Seattle (WA) area in June for meetings with engineers leading a satellite launch project crucial to his space company’s growth. Within hours of landing, Musk had fired at least seven members of the program’s senior management team, the culmination of disagreements over the pace at which the team was developing and testing its Starlink satellites. Musk quickly brought in new managers from SpaceX headquarters in CA to replace a number of the managers he fired.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the Nov Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Thursday, Nov 15, 2018:
Galileo Order – The Commission will consider an Order that addresses waivers of certain satellite licensing requirements for receive-only earth stations operating with the Galileo Radionavigation-Satellite Service. (IB Docket No. 17-16)
In Nov, during what we’ve dubbed Space Month, the Federal Communications Commission will take up nine items to ensure that America leads in the New Space Age, with an emphasis on cutting through the red tape. We start with improving a satellite-enabled technology that millions of Americans rely on every day without even knowing it: the positioning, navigation, and timing service known to most Americans as the Global Positioning System, or GPS. The Commission will vote on allowing American devices to access the European global navigation satellite system, known as Galileo.
Cheaper rocket launches and better technology may make satellites a more viable option for delivering fast, affordable consumer broadband services around the world. A handful of companies from SpaceX to ViaSat are launching satellites that orbit closer to the earth, which is expected to reduce the lag time — or latency — because the signal will not have to travel as far. Lower-Earth constellations have the potential to compete more directly with cable or fiber networks on speed and price than the older satellite systems.
Aerospace startup Swarm Technologies, which has grand ambitions of providing low-cost internet connectivity with 100 tiny satellites and which infamously launched four satellites without a federal license in Jan, has received permission from the Federal Communications Commission to launch a new crop of satellites later in 2018. The approval comes while the FCC is still deciding whether to take any retaliatory action against Swarm for the unauthorized January launch.
Sara Spangelo is the CEO of a young start-up called Swarm Technologies. Swarm had secured a spot on an Indian rocket for its product: a set of four small satellites nicknamed Spacebees. The Spacebees are prototypes for Swarm’s ambitious plan to provide internet access to areas without it.
A host of companies believe, rather than fiber optic cables, the better way to connect the estimated half of Earth’s population that’s still offline is to launch “constellations” of smaller satellites into low Earth orbit, around 100 to 1,250 miles above our planet. Facebook is officially one of them. Emails between the company and the Federal Communications Commission show that Facebook wants to launch Athena, its very own internet satellite, in early 2019.