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fb has tested plans to launch a low-Earth orbit (LEO) broadband satellite tv for pc early subsequent 12 months in what may well be step one towards a constellation of satellites, in accordance with Wired.
A can also 2018 document from IEEE Spectrum provided facts that a satellite enterprise referred to as PointView Tech LLC is a subsidiary created by fb to pursue broadband plans under the code identify “Athena.”
“When contacted with the aid of Wired, facebook proven that Athena is their undertaking,” Wired wrote on Friday.
whereas usual broadband satellites endure from high latencies as a result of they orbit the Earth at about 35,400km, low-Earth orbit satellites might deliver gigabit web carrier with latencies comparable to cable and fiber. facebook is one of a couple of companies with LEO satellite plans, however groups together with SpaceX and OneWeb are additional along in their construction.
PointView described the Athena assignment in an software to the Federal Communications commission.
“while we don’t have anything to share about specific tasks at this time, we consider satellite know-how could be a vital enabler of the subsequent era of broadband infrastructure, making it feasible to convey broadband connectivity to rural areas the place cyber web connectivity is lacking or non-existent,” a facebook spokesperson instructed Wired. (Wired and Ars Technica are both owned by means of Condé Nast.)
A Wired public statistics request additionally grew to become up an electronic mail thread by which PointView Tech requested a meeting with FCC officials about its satellite tv for pc application. The emails show the assembly turned into scheduled for can also 10 of this yr; one e-mail from PointView’s attorney cited that 4 facebook executives can be attending.
the general public facts request also became up identical emails between PointView representatives and the FCC in July 2016. We contacted facebook for more details this morning and will update this story if we get a response.
replace: facebook validated to Ars that it owns the Athena satellite tv for pc, however called it a small analysis and development test.
fb plan lags in the back of SpaceX and OneWeb
fb’s assignment is rarely as a long way superior because the plans of SpaceX and other groups. The FCC in March this yr approved SpaceX’s plan to launch as much as 4,425 low-Earth orbit satellites between 2019 and 2024 at altitudes of 1,110km to 1,325km. OneWeb received an identical FCC approval in June 2017.
in contrast, fb’s Athena utility sought “experimental authorization to launch and operate a single low-earth orbit… satellite” in early 2019. The satellite tv for pc would be in a “sun-synchronous orbit between 500-550km,” and it could communicate with two earth stations in California’s los angeles and Ventura counties.
The goal is to “examine the suitability of LEO satellites the usage of millimeter wave frequencies… to supply broadband internet access to unserved and underserved areas across the globe,” the doc says. The satellite exams are slated to “run for approximately two years after the beginning of in-orbit operations.”
The experiment would check each fixed and cell broadband access.
while the plan carries only 1 satellite for now, facebook might construct an LEO constellation if it gets respectable outcomes from the checks. The test also could no longer lead to a industrial broadband carrier. facebook has in the past confirmed terrestrial instant broadband and drone-powered information superhighway access, however recently the enterprise decided to cease constructing its own drones.
As we have prior to now said, each business building a large satellite constellation needs to plan carefully with a view to cut the risk of collisions and area particles.