The megaconstellations promising global broadband service are heightening concern about orbital debris and creating demand for space-based trash collection.
U.S. telecom regulators the evening of March 29 accepted SpaceX’s application to launch a megaconstellation of 4,425 broadband satellites, but denied the company’s request to relax the deadline by which it must have its entire constellation in orbit.
Broadband megaconstellations are expensive propositions, with SpaceX’s Starlink constellation expected to cost $10 billion or more, and OneWeb expecting to spend $3 billion. The actual cost could ultimately be higher.
OneWeb’s largest investor SoftBank expects to bring in several partners to help sell OneWeb capacity, including potentially other geostationary satellite operators.
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is selling off one of its business units to focus on the high-growth areas of satellite communications and drones.
The Canadian government will support the development of low-Earth-orbit satellites that can bring internet services to rural parts of the country.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants his agency approve SpaceX’s 15-month-old application to serve the U.S. with its proposed megaconstellation.
A U.S. Federal Communications Commission requirement that developers of non-geostationary-orbit (NGSO) satellite systems provide full coverage of the United States to get market access has prospective megaconstellation operators pitted against each other.
Kepler Communications, a Canadian startup designing a low-Earth-orbit constellation for satellite connectivity, says its first satellite is performing as expected following a Jan. 19 launch on China’s Long March 11 rocket.
Following market approval given to OneWeb in June, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Nov. 3 granted global fleet operator Telesat permission to reach the U.S. with a constellation of 117 low-Earth orbit satellites.
SpaceX and OneWeb say they are within months of launching the first satellites in their competing megaconstellations of broadband smallsats designed to bring internet to every corner of the globe.
Telesat is some three to five months ahead of OneWeb in launching low-Earth orbit telecommunications satellites, and barring a surprise launch from SpaceX, will likely be the first new mega-constellation to put hardware into operation.
Satellites have been the option of last resort for telecommunication companies and their customers in the past decades, according to Renato Goodfellow, head of global satellite at BT Global Services.
In contrast to the millions of cars and thousands of airplanes produced annually, satellites are produced in much lower numbers. Even OneWeb’s mega-constellation, doesn’t provide the scale needed to justify the upfront expense of automating assembly.
LeoSat plans to provide Supernet with more than three gigabits of capacity on the global communications network it is developing, which is comprised of satellites built by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy based on the firm’s EliteBus.