Race for global low earth orbit high bandwidth internet satellites

The LA Times reviews some of the competitors in the race for global low earth orbit high bandwidth internet satellite networks.

Low-earth orbit systems need complex software to run constellations of satellites and sophisticated antennas on the ground to aim at spacecraft zooming from horizon to horizon. Costs quickly overwhelm savings from building smaller gear.

Boeing is seeking approval for 60 satellites
OneWeb has FCC permission to serve the U.S. market using 720 satellites authorized by the U.K.
SpaceX’s plan calls for 4,425 satellites, but it also has applied for an additional 7,518.

Two dozen ventures are raising money in an effort to fund global satellite networks.

Satellites in low-earth trajectories operate 200 to 1,200 miles above Earth and orbit it roughly every 90 minutes. Traditional communications satellites operate much higher, at an altitude of about 22,000 miles.

The LEO satellites will need to be massed produced cheaply and replaced every 4-5 years.