Giant satellites in high low-earth orbit to provide internet directly to smartphones

Rob Hoyt of Tethers Unlimited presented “In-Space Recycling and Manufacturing” at the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group Presentations. The FISO (Future In-Space Operations) Telecon Series hosts the presentations. As of August 2015, Dan Dumbacher, former Deputy AA of HEOMD at NASA HQ and Director of the Engineering Directorate at MSFC, as well as a leader in major NASA programs, now on the faculty of Purdue University, has joined as a FISO telecon co-chair. This is not a NASA telecon.

Tethers Unlimited work is one of four projects out of 150+ NASA Innovative Advanced Concept projects that were highlighted in a NASA technology review.

Rob Hoyt described several projects which could lead to the construction of 27 large high low-earth orbit satellites that could provide high-speed internet directly to smartphones.

First they are working on a platform of several satellites in geosynchronous and other orbits. They would all share electricity, data and other services. This would improve the profitability of the satellites.

They are also working on the construction of large antennas in orbit. The would be able to provide 12 gigabits per second internet from geosynchronous orbit. There is a 2017 patent for the Orbweaver system for building large antennas in orbit.

June 2017, Firmamentum, a division of Tethers Unlimited got a contract from DARPA to develop a system that would use in-space manufacturing and robotic assembly to construct on orbit a small satellite able to provide high-bandwidth satellite communications (SATCOM) services to mobile receivers on the ground. Under the OrbWeaver Direct-to-Phase-II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) effort, Firmamentum aims to combine its technologies for in-space recycling, in-space manufacturing, and robotic assembly to create a system that could launch as a secondary payload on an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV).

This system would recycle a structural element of that rocket, known as an EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) ring, by converting the ring’s aluminum material into a very large, high-precision antenna reflector. The OrbWeaver™ payload would then attach this large antenna to an array of TUI’s SWIFT® software defined radios launched with the OrbWeaver payload to create a small satellite capable of delivering up to 12 gigabits per second of data to K-band very small aperture terminals (VSAT) on the ground.

They are creating an open interface standard for satellites to be plugged into a common platform.

If the platforms were plugged in with multiple large antenna satellites, they could provide internet to large areas of the earth. 27 of them would be able to provide internet everywhere over the earth to smartphones.

All of the technological innovations could be proven within seven years so that funding could be raised to build the direct internet satellite to smartphone global communication grid.

110 thoughts on “Giant satellites in high low-earth orbit to provide internet directly to smartphones”

  1. This reminds me of the old Orbital Antenna Farm concept. Globis was going to be the largest single sat–launched by Energiya

    Reply
  2. This reminds me of the old Orbital Antenna Farm concept. Globis was going to be the largest single sat–launched by Energiya

    Reply
  3. I doubt that they could have anywhere near the same amount of lift. Plus it won’t solve the inherent problem of fragility with balloons. If you make them stronger you loose even more lift, but still they wont last for arbitrarily long If you make them lighter they won’t last for any reasonable amount of time. I see a lot more potential in drone stuff. A well designed one might be up there for several years before requiring servicing, maybe longer than satellites. (Though I can’t get my head around why didn’t they experiment with (coaxial) helicopters. Makes more sense for stationary applications)

    Reply
  4. I doubt that they could have anywhere near the same amount of lift.Plus it won’t solve the inherent problem of fragility with balloons. If you make them stronger you loose even more lift but still they wont last for arbitrarily long If you make them lighter they won’t last for any reasonable amount of time.I see a lot more potential in drone stuff. A well designed one might be up there for several years before requiring servicing maybe longer than satellites.(Though I can’t get my head around why didn’t they experiment with (coaxial) helicopters. Makes more sense for stationary applications)

    Reply
  5. Sad. Though what need do we have for satellites anymore? (besides spy stuff) It seems like cables go everywhere now… You have mobile phone towers everywhere. Atmospheric or satellite television are pretty much obsolete.

    Reply
  6. Sad. Though what need do we have for satellites anymore? (besides spy stuff)It seems like cables go everywhere now… You have mobile phone towers everywhere. Atmospheric or satellite television are pretty much obsolete.

    Reply
  7. Larger antennas and more power on the satellite. A large enough antenna will pick up the smart phone’s signal from orbit, and supply a strong enough signal focused on a small enough footprint that the pathetic antenna on the smartphone can pick it up. Also, you might go back to putting working antennas on smartphones, instead of concentrating on making them thin enough to shave with and never mind functionality.

    Reply
  8. Larger antennas and more power on the satellite. A large enough antenna will pick up the smart phone’s signal from orbit and supply a strong enough signal focused on a small enough footprint that the pathetic antenna on the smartphone can pick it up.Also you might go back to putting working antennas on smartphones instead of concentrating on making them thin enough to shave with and never mind functionality.

    Reply
  9. I think you’re assuming that the satellites are all in equatorial orbits. For the geosynch concepts, yes. For LEO, absolutely not, they’re in inclined orbits to cover all the really populated latitudes.

    Reply
  10. I think you’re assuming that the satellites are all in equatorial orbits. For the geosynch concepts yes. For LEO absolutely not they’re in inclined orbits to cover all the really populated latitudes.

    Reply
  11. The larger you make solar heated balloons, the more practical they become, because of square/cube law; They lose heat slower, big enough and it isn’t enough overnight to matter. The problem is that, for balloon internet, you really don’t want big balloons, you want lots of small balloons.

    Reply
  12. The larger you make solar heated balloons the more practical they become because of square/cube law; They lose heat slower big enough and it isn’t enough overnight to matter.The problem is that for balloon internet you really don’t want big balloons you want lots of small balloons.

    Reply
  13. The only serious proposals I have seen involve an upper and lower balloon, the lower being a variable ballast function using compressed air, and some sort of heated air or nitrogen setup in the upper balloon. There is a consumable (lower ballast air) that gets dumped, but can be recovered via pumping outside air back in. There were some “around-the-world” type gondola designs that used such a layout, but with helium in the upper balloon so they had a lifetime cap. Doesn’t solve positioning control entirely, but with judicious altitude changes to take advantage of local wind direction changes, you can almost stay in one region, at least until wind at all altitudes mostly align to kick you out of the designated area. But if near continuous ops is possible, then simply putting up a fleet and trying to compensate for north/south slop but giving up on fighting trade wind/jetstream movement could work out.

    Reply
  14. The only serious proposals I have seen involve an upper and lower balloon the lower being a variable ballast function using compressed air and some sort of heated air or nitrogen setup in the upper balloon. There is a consumable (lower ballast air) that gets dumped but can be recovered via pumping outside air back in. There were some around-the-world”” type gondola designs that used such a layout”” but with helium in the upper balloon so they had a lifetime cap.Doesn’t solve positioning control entirely but with judicious altitude changes to take advantage of local wind direction changes you can almost stay in one region at least until wind at all altitudes mostly align to kick you out of the designated area. But if near continuous ops is possible”” then simply putting up a fleet and trying to compensate for north/south slop but giving up on fighting trade wind/jetstream movement could work out.”””

    Reply
  15. I wonder how you could do permanent balloons. Hot air balloons would work. I’ve heard of them being solar powered if you get the colours right the sun makes the air hot without need for fuel. “Solar powered hot air balloon” brings up plenty on Google search. And maybe hydrogen if you could capture atmospheric moisture and electrolyse it.

    Reply
  16. I wonder how you could do permanent balloons.Hot air balloons would work. I’ve heard of them being solar powered if you get the colours right the sun makes the air hot without need for fuel.Solar powered hot air balloon”” brings up plenty on Google search.And maybe hydrogen if you could capture atmospheric moisture and electrolyse it.”””

    Reply
  17. Loon got spun off as a subsidiary, but the loon balloons themselves are not “forever” type flight vehicles. They will run out of helium eventually, which is why they are actively steered using prevailing winds at different altitudes to try to hover over their operational area, and divert to their recovery area when they can’t handle it any more. Solar electric HAPS like Zephyr have now demonstrated over 30 days aloft with no obvious consumables limiting their flight time.

    Reply
  18. Loon got spun off as a subsidiary but the loon balloons themselves are not forever”” type flight vehicles. They will run out of helium eventually”” which is why they are actively steered using prevailing winds at different altitudes to try to hover over their operational area”” and divert to their recovery area when they can’t handle it any more. Solar electric HAPS like Zephyr have now demonstrated over 30 days aloft with no obvious consumables limiting their flight time.”””

    Reply
  19. Realistic location dependent MMORG. You only interact in real time with people who are close enough to communicate with directly. Otherwise the messages take hours/days/months/years the same way they really did in the medieval/fantasy settings.

    Reply
  20. Realistic location dependent MMORG. You only interact in real time with people who are close enough to communicate with directly. Otherwise the messages take hours/days/months/years the same way they really did in the medieval/fantasy settings.

    Reply
  21. I’m prepared to be a lot more lenient for predictions that don’t work out. My ire is reserved for stuff that was clearly wrong at the time. In this case, that the majority of time someone was late, it was because their watch was running slow.

    Reply
  22. I’m prepared to be a lot more lenient for predictions that don’t work out. My ire is reserved for stuff that was clearly wrong at the time.In this case that the majority of time someone was late it was because their watch was running slow.

    Reply
  23. I doubt that they could have anywhere near the same amount of lift. Plus it won’t solve the inherent problem of fragility with balloons. If you make them stronger you loose even more lift, but still they wont last for arbitrarily long If you make them lighter they won’t last for any reasonable amount of time. I see a lot more potential in drone stuff. A well designed one might be up there for several years before requiring servicing, maybe longer than satellites. (Though I can’t get my head around why didn’t they experiment with (coaxial) helicopters. Makes more sense for stationary applications)

    Reply
  24. I doubt that they could have anywhere near the same amount of lift.Plus it won’t solve the inherent problem of fragility with balloons. If you make them stronger you loose even more lift but still they wont last for arbitrarily long If you make them lighter they won’t last for any reasonable amount of time.I see a lot more potential in drone stuff. A well designed one might be up there for several years before requiring servicing maybe longer than satellites.(Though I can’t get my head around why didn’t they experiment with (coaxial) helicopters. Makes more sense for stationary applications)

    Reply
  25. Sad. Though what need do we have for satellites anymore? (besides spy stuff) It seems like cables go everywhere now… You have mobile phone towers everywhere. Atmospheric or satellite television are pretty much obsolete.

    Reply
  26. Sad. Though what need do we have for satellites anymore? (besides spy stuff)It seems like cables go everywhere now… You have mobile phone towers everywhere. Atmospheric or satellite television are pretty much obsolete.

    Reply
  27. Larger antennas and more power on the satellite. A large enough antenna will pick up the smart phone’s signal from orbit, and supply a strong enough signal focused on a small enough footprint that the pathetic antenna on the smartphone can pick it up. Also, you might go back to putting working antennas on smartphones, instead of concentrating on making them thin enough to shave with and never mind functionality.

    Reply
  28. Larger antennas and more power on the satellite. A large enough antenna will pick up the smart phone’s signal from orbit and supply a strong enough signal focused on a small enough footprint that the pathetic antenna on the smartphone can pick it up.Also you might go back to putting working antennas on smartphones instead of concentrating on making them thin enough to shave with and never mind functionality.

    Reply
  29. I think you’re assuming that the satellites are all in equatorial orbits. For the geosynch concepts, yes. For LEO, absolutely not, they’re in inclined orbits to cover all the really populated latitudes.

    Reply
  30. I think you’re assuming that the satellites are all in equatorial orbits. For the geosynch concepts yes. For LEO absolutely not they’re in inclined orbits to cover all the really populated latitudes.

    Reply
  31. The larger you make solar heated balloons, the more practical they become, because of square/cube law; They lose heat slower, big enough and it isn’t enough overnight to matter. The problem is that, for balloon internet, you really don’t want big balloons, you want lots of small balloons.

    Reply
  32. The larger you make solar heated balloons the more practical they become because of square/cube law; They lose heat slower big enough and it isn’t enough overnight to matter.The problem is that for balloon internet you really don’t want big balloons you want lots of small balloons.

    Reply
  33. The only serious proposals I have seen involve an upper and lower balloon, the lower being a variable ballast function using compressed air, and some sort of heated air or nitrogen setup in the upper balloon. There is a consumable (lower ballast air) that gets dumped, but can be recovered via pumping outside air back in. There were some “around-the-world” type gondola designs that used such a layout, but with helium in the upper balloon so they had a lifetime cap. Doesn’t solve positioning control entirely, but with judicious altitude changes to take advantage of local wind direction changes, you can almost stay in one region, at least until wind at all altitudes mostly align to kick you out of the designated area. But if near continuous ops is possible, then simply putting up a fleet and trying to compensate for north/south slop but giving up on fighting trade wind/jetstream movement could work out.

    Reply
  34. The only serious proposals I have seen involve an upper and lower balloon the lower being a variable ballast function using compressed air and some sort of heated air or nitrogen setup in the upper balloon. There is a consumable (lower ballast air) that gets dumped but can be recovered via pumping outside air back in. There were some around-the-world”” type gondola designs that used such a layout”” but with helium in the upper balloon so they had a lifetime cap.Doesn’t solve positioning control entirely but with judicious altitude changes to take advantage of local wind direction changes you can almost stay in one region at least until wind at all altitudes mostly align to kick you out of the designated area. But if near continuous ops is possible”” then simply putting up a fleet and trying to compensate for north/south slop but giving up on fighting trade wind/jetstream movement could work out.”””

    Reply
  35. I wonder how you could do permanent balloons. Hot air balloons would work. I’ve heard of them being solar powered if you get the colours right the sun makes the air hot without need for fuel. “Solar powered hot air balloon” brings up plenty on Google search. And maybe hydrogen if you could capture atmospheric moisture and electrolyse it.

    Reply
  36. I wonder how you could do permanent balloons.Hot air balloons would work. I’ve heard of them being solar powered if you get the colours right the sun makes the air hot without need for fuel.Solar powered hot air balloon”” brings up plenty on Google search.And maybe hydrogen if you could capture atmospheric moisture and electrolyse it.”””

    Reply
  37. Loon got spun off as a subsidiary, but the loon balloons themselves are not “forever” type flight vehicles. They will run out of helium eventually, which is why they are actively steered using prevailing winds at different altitudes to try to hover over their operational area, and divert to their recovery area when they can’t handle it any more. Solar electric HAPS like Zephyr have now demonstrated over 30 days aloft with no obvious consumables limiting their flight time.

    Reply
  38. Loon got spun off as a subsidiary but the loon balloons themselves are not forever”” type flight vehicles. They will run out of helium eventually”” which is why they are actively steered using prevailing winds at different altitudes to try to hover over their operational area”” and divert to their recovery area when they can’t handle it any more. Solar electric HAPS like Zephyr have now demonstrated over 30 days aloft with no obvious consumables limiting their flight time.”””

    Reply
  39. Realistic location dependent MMORG. You only interact in real time with people who are close enough to communicate with directly. Otherwise the messages take hours/days/months/years the same way they really did in the medieval/fantasy settings.

    Reply
  40. Realistic location dependent MMORG. You only interact in real time with people who are close enough to communicate with directly. Otherwise the messages take hours/days/months/years the same way they really did in the medieval/fantasy settings.

    Reply
  41. I’m prepared to be a lot more lenient for predictions that don’t work out. My ire is reserved for stuff that was clearly wrong at the time. In this case, that the majority of time someone was late, it was because their watch was running slow.

    Reply
  42. I’m prepared to be a lot more lenient for predictions that don’t work out. My ire is reserved for stuff that was clearly wrong at the time.In this case that the majority of time someone was late it was because their watch was running slow.

    Reply
  43. I doubt that they could have anywhere near the same amount of lift.
    Plus it won’t solve the inherent problem of fragility with balloons. If you make them stronger you loose even more lift, but still they wont last for arbitrarily long If you make them lighter they won’t last for any reasonable amount of time.

    I see a lot more potential in drone stuff. A well designed one might be up there for several years before requiring servicing, maybe longer than satellites.

    (Though I can’t get my head around why didn’t they experiment with (coaxial) helicopters. Makes more sense for stationary applications)

    Reply
  44. Sad. Though what need do we have for satellites anymore? (besides spy stuff)

    It seems like cables go everywhere now… You have mobile phone towers everywhere. Atmospheric or satellite television are pretty much obsolete.

    Reply
  45. Larger antennas and more power on the satellite. A large enough antenna will pick up the smart phone’s signal from orbit, and supply a strong enough signal focused on a small enough footprint that the pathetic antenna on the smartphone can pick it up.

    Also, you might go back to putting working antennas on smartphones, instead of concentrating on making them thin enough to shave with and never mind functionality.

    Reply
  46. I think you’re assuming that the satellites are all in equatorial orbits. For the geosynch concepts, yes. For LEO, absolutely not, they’re in inclined orbits to cover all the really populated latitudes.

    Reply
  47. The larger you make solar heated balloons, the more practical they become, because of square/cube law; They lose heat slower, big enough and it isn’t enough overnight to matter.

    The problem is that, for balloon internet, you really don’t want big balloons, you want lots of small balloons.

    Reply
  48. The only serious proposals I have seen involve an upper and lower balloon, the lower being a variable ballast function using compressed air, and some sort of heated air or nitrogen setup in the upper balloon. There is a consumable (lower ballast air) that gets dumped, but can be recovered via pumping outside air back in. There were some “around-the-world” type gondola designs that used such a layout, but with helium in the upper balloon so they had a lifetime cap.

    Doesn’t solve positioning control entirely, but with judicious altitude changes to take advantage of local wind direction changes, you can almost stay in one region, at least until wind at all altitudes mostly align to kick you out of the designated area. But if near continuous ops is possible, then simply putting up a fleet and trying to compensate for north/south slop but giving up on fighting trade wind/jetstream movement could work out.

    Reply
  49. I wonder how you could do permanent balloons.

    Hot air balloons would work. I’ve heard of them being solar powered if you get the colours right the sun makes the air hot without need for fuel.

    “Solar powered hot air balloon” brings up plenty on Google search.

    And maybe hydrogen if you could capture atmospheric moisture and electrolyse it.

    Reply
  50. Loon got spun off as a subsidiary, but the loon balloons themselves are not “forever” type flight vehicles. They will run out of helium eventually, which is why they are actively steered using prevailing winds at different altitudes to try to hover over their operational area, and divert to their recovery area when they can’t handle it any more. Solar electric HAPS like Zephyr have now demonstrated over 30 days aloft with no obvious consumables limiting their flight time.

    Reply
  51. A simple text message would be useful in the bush … maybe even life saving. I am uncertain how a satellite, even in LEO, is going to communicate with a standard smartphone without using a big battery and a boost in RF power.

    Reply
  52. A simple text message would be useful in the bush … maybe even life saving. I am uncertain how a satellite even in LEO is going to communicate with a standard smartphone without using a big battery and a boost in RF power.

    Reply
  53. A simple text message would be useful in the bush … maybe even life saving. I am uncertain how a satellite, even in LEO, is going to communicate with a standard smartphone without using a big battery and a boost in RF power.

    Reply
  54. A simple text message would be useful in the bush … maybe even life saving. I am uncertain how a satellite even in LEO is going to communicate with a standard smartphone without using a big battery and a boost in RF power.

    Reply
  55. We already have at least 4 communications companies putting in LEO mesh grids of 5G internet access that should be all online by 2025. A geosynchronous solution will not work very well unless they have figured out how to bypass the speed of light. a round trip signal will take at least 200 ms to travel that distance and seeing as we are already used to sub 50ms latencies with cellular, cable and fiber and the arrays that are already being placed in low earth orbit will offer the same low latency and high speed, I don’t see how a geo internet project is viable.

    Reply
  56. We already have at least 4 communications companies putting in LEO mesh grids of 5G internet access that should be all online by 2025. A geosynchronous solution will not work very well unless they have figured out how to bypass the speed of light. a round trip signal will take at least 200 ms to travel that distance and seeing as we are already used to sub 50ms latencies with cellular cable and fiber and the arrays that are already being placed in low earth orbit will offer the same low latency and high speed I don’t see how a geo internet project is viable.

    Reply
  57. We already have at least 4 communications companies putting in LEO mesh grids of 5G internet access that should be all online by 2025. A geosynchronous solution will not work very well unless they have figured out how to bypass the speed of light. a round trip signal will take at least 200 ms to travel that distance and seeing as we are already used to sub 50ms latencies with cellular, cable and fiber and the arrays that are already being placed in low earth orbit will offer the same low latency and high speed, I don’t see how a geo internet project is viable.

    Reply
  58. We already have at least 4 communications companies putting in LEO mesh grids of 5G internet access that should be all online by 2025. A geosynchronous solution will not work very well unless they have figured out how to bypass the speed of light. a round trip signal will take at least 200 ms to travel that distance and seeing as we are already used to sub 50ms latencies with cellular cable and fiber and the arrays that are already being placed in low earth orbit will offer the same low latency and high speed I don’t see how a geo internet project is viable.

    Reply
  59. Yep. That one. Seems they were a common feature for many growing up in the 70s and 80s. They were already old when I read them. In retrospective, there are many silly assertions there. It’s usually funny to re-watch these books and media for comparing what people from the past believed will happen later, with our own expectations and probable disappointments. And in this case, the comparison with this proposal of geostationary satellites for giving Internet to cellphones seems very apt. Including the potential silliness.

    Reply
  60. Yep. That one. Seems they were a common feature for many growing up in the 70s and 80s. They were already old when I read them.In retrospective there are many silly assertions there. It’s usually funny to re-watch these books and media for comparing what people from the past believed will happen later with our own expectations and probable disappointments.And in this case the comparison with this proposal of geostationary satellites for giving Internet to cellphones seems very apt. Including the potential silliness.

    Reply
  61. Yep. That one. Seems they were a common feature for many growing up in the 70s and 80s. They were already old when I read them. In retrospective, there are many silly assertions there. It’s usually funny to re-watch these books and media for comparing what people from the past believed will happen later, with our own expectations and probable disappointments. And in this case, the comparison with this proposal of geostationary satellites for giving Internet to cellphones seems very apt. Including the potential silliness.

    Reply
  62. Yep. That one. Seems they were a common feature for many growing up in the 70s and 80s. They were already old when I read them.In retrospective there are many silly assertions there. It’s usually funny to re-watch these books and media for comparing what people from the past believed will happen later with our own expectations and probable disappointments.And in this case the comparison with this proposal of geostationary satellites for giving Internet to cellphones seems very apt. Including the potential silliness.

    Reply
  63. Realistic location dependent MMORG. You only interact in real time with people who are close enough to communicate with directly. Otherwise the messages take hours/days/months/years the same way they really did in the medieval/fantasy settings.

    Reply
  64. I’m prepared to be a lot more lenient for predictions that don’t work out. My ire is reserved for stuff that was clearly wrong at the time.

    In this case, that the majority of time someone was late, it was because their watch was running slow.

    Reply
  65. Is that the book that said something like “And you will be able to use the communication function of the watch to tell people if you are going to be late. But because the satellite keeps your watch updated with a regular timing pulse you will have little excuse for being late! (sic)” I remember that as being one of my first encounters with a so-called scientific publication saying something that even young me could tell was just stupid. As if having your watch run slow was the leading cause of being late. There have been many, many other such stupid things in so-called non-fictional publications since then. 🙁

    Reply
  66. Is that the book that said something like And you will be able to use the communication function of the watch to tell people if you are going to be late. But because the satellite keeps your watch updated with a regular timing pulse you will have little excuse for being late! (sic)””I remember that as being one of my first encounters with a so-called scientific publication saying something that even young me could tell was just stupid. As if having your watch run slow was the leading cause of being late.There have been many”””” many other such stupid things in so-called non-fictional publications since then. :(“””

    Reply
  67. Is that the book that said something like “And you will be able to use the communication function of the watch to tell people if you are going to be late. But because the satellite keeps your watch updated with a regular timing pulse you will have little excuse for being late! (sic)” I remember that as being one of my first encounters with a so-called scientific publication saying something that even young me could tell was just stupid. As if having your watch run slow was the leading cause of being late. There have been many, many other such stupid things in so-called non-fictional publications since then. 🙁

    Reply
  68. Is that the book that said something like And you will be able to use the communication function of the watch to tell people if you are going to be late. But because the satellite keeps your watch updated with a regular timing pulse you will have little excuse for being late! (sic)””I remember that as being one of my first encounters with a so-called scientific publication saying something that even young me could tell was just stupid. As if having your watch run slow was the leading cause of being late.There have been many”””” many other such stupid things in so-called non-fictional publications since then. :(“””

    Reply
  69. A simple text message would be useful in the bush … maybe even life saving.

    I am uncertain how a satellite, even in LEO, is going to communicate with a standard smartphone without using a big battery and a boost in RF power.

    Reply
  70. This recalls me an old idea floated in a children’s book I read long ago (the Usborne books of the future). Huge geostationary satellites giving location, video and voice communication abilities to videotelephone wrist-bands! Of course, we ended up getting smartphones, which are supercomputers people back in the 70s couldn’t imagine getting so small and cheap, but the concept is very similar except in its actual execution and form. And we aren’t using satellites for giving them communication abilities, but local transceivers and antennas that can move data packets across the world in a few tens of miliseconds, ergo near imperceptible latency. And people now is used to that, considering anything less as unacceptable for daily use. Anything ressembling satellite Internet nowadays will need to take that expectation into account, or remain as a niche market like Iridium or other satellite Internet providers, which have their uses but are far from being a popular consumer phenomenon. Hence things like Starlink, which wants to bridge the gap between satellite Internet and consumer expectations. But I think this one above won’t stand a chance, considering those consumer expectations.

    Reply
  71. This recalls me an old idea floated in a children’s book I read long ago (the Usborne books of the future).Huge geostationary satellites giving location video and voice communication abilities to videotelephone wrist-bands!Of course we ended up getting smartphones which are supercomputers people back in the 70s couldn’t imagine getting so small and cheap but the concept is very similar except in its actual execution and form.And we aren’t using satellites for giving them communication abilities but local transceivers and antennas that can move data packets across the world in a few tens of miliseconds ergo near imperceptible latency.And people now is used to that considering anything less as unacceptable for daily use.Anything ressembling satellite Internet nowadays will need to take that expectation into account or remain as a niche market like Iridium or other satellite Internet providers which have their uses but are far from being a popular consumer phenomenon.Hence things like Starlink which wants to bridge the gap between satellite Internet and consumer expectations.But I think this one above won’t stand a chance considering those consumer expectations.

    Reply
  72. This recalls me an old idea floated in a children’s book I read long ago (the Usborne books of the future). Huge geostationary satellites giving location, video and voice communication abilities to videotelephone wrist-bands! Of course, we ended up getting smartphones, which are supercomputers people back in the 70s couldn’t imagine getting so small and cheap, but the concept is very similar except in its actual execution and form. And we aren’t using satellites for giving them communication abilities, but local transceivers and antennas that can move data packets across the world in a few tens of miliseconds, ergo near imperceptible latency. And people now is used to that, considering anything less as unacceptable for daily use. Anything ressembling satellite Internet nowadays will need to take that expectation into account, or remain as a niche market like Iridium or other satellite Internet providers, which have their uses but are far from being a popular consumer phenomenon. Hence things like Starlink, which wants to bridge the gap between satellite Internet and consumer expectations. But I think this one above won’t stand a chance, considering those consumer expectations.

    Reply
  73. This recalls me an old idea floated in a children’s book I read long ago (the Usborne books of the future).Huge geostationary satellites giving location video and voice communication abilities to videotelephone wrist-bands!Of course we ended up getting smartphones which are supercomputers people back in the 70s couldn’t imagine getting so small and cheap but the concept is very similar except in its actual execution and form.And we aren’t using satellites for giving them communication abilities but local transceivers and antennas that can move data packets across the world in a few tens of miliseconds ergo near imperceptible latency.And people now is used to that considering anything less as unacceptable for daily use.Anything ressembling satellite Internet nowadays will need to take that expectation into account or remain as a niche market like Iridium or other satellite Internet providers which have their uses but are far from being a popular consumer phenomenon.Hence things like Starlink which wants to bridge the gap between satellite Internet and consumer expectations.But I think this one above won’t stand a chance considering those consumer expectations.

    Reply
  74. Geosynchronous orbit will be OK for relatively latency insensitive applications. If you’re gonna transmit from there, the servers need to be there too. At high latitudes ground clutter will become a problem. Trees absorb microwaves. For instance, I might prefer a low orbit constellation as my network , if I lived in British Colombia, or Scandinavia.

    Reply
  75. Geosynchronous orbit will be OK for relatively latency insensitive applications. If you’re gonna transmit from there the servers need to be there too. At high latitudes ground clutter will become a problem. Trees absorb microwaves. For instance I might prefer a low orbit constellation as my network if I lived in British Colombia or Scandinavia.

    Reply
  76. Geosynchronous orbit will be OK for relatively latency insensitive applications. If you’re gonna transmit from there, the servers need to be there too. At high latitudes ground clutter will become a problem. Trees absorb microwaves. For instance, I might prefer a low orbit constellation as my network , if I lived in British Colombia, or Scandinavia.

    Reply
  77. Geosynchronous orbit will be OK for relatively latency insensitive applications. If you’re gonna transmit from there the servers need to be there too. At high latitudes ground clutter will become a problem. Trees absorb microwaves. For instance I might prefer a low orbit constellation as my network if I lived in British Colombia or Scandinavia.

    Reply
  78. Pretty high latency. Only useful for nothing resembling real time communication. E-mail, streaming would be kind of OK. Instant messaging would be a bit laggy. MMORPG would be near unplayable, but that’s a niche.

    Reply
  79. Pretty high latency. Only useful for nothing resembling real time communication.E-mail streaming would be kind of OK. Instant messaging would be a bit laggy.MMORPG would be near unplayable but that’s a niche.

    Reply
  80. Pretty high latency. Only useful for nothing resembling real time communication. E-mail, streaming would be kind of OK. Instant messaging would be a bit laggy. MMORPG would be near unplayable, but that’s a niche.

    Reply
  81. Pretty high latency. Only useful for nothing resembling real time communication.E-mail streaming would be kind of OK. Instant messaging would be a bit laggy.MMORPG would be near unplayable but that’s a niche.

    Reply
  82. We already have at least 4 communications companies putting in LEO mesh grids of 5G internet access that should be all online by 2025. A geosynchronous solution will not work very well unless they have figured out how to bypass the speed of light. a round trip signal will take at least 200 ms to travel that distance and seeing as we are already used to sub 50ms latencies with cellular, cable and fiber and the arrays that are already being placed in low earth orbit will offer the same low latency and high speed, I don’t see how a geo internet project is viable.

    Reply
  83. Yep. That one. Seems they were a common feature for many growing up in the 70s and 80s. They were already old when I read them.

    In retrospective, there are many silly assertions there. It’s usually funny to re-watch these books and media for comparing what people from the past believed will happen later, with our own expectations and probable disappointments.

    And in this case, the comparison with this proposal of geostationary satellites for giving Internet to cellphones seems very apt. Including the potential silliness.

    Reply
  84. Is that the book that said something like “And you will be able to use the communication function of the watch to tell people if you are going to be late. But because the satellite keeps your watch updated with a regular timing pulse you will have little excuse for being late! (sic)”

    I remember that as being one of my first encounters with a so-called scientific publication saying something that even young me could tell was just stupid. As if having your watch run slow was the leading cause of being late.

    There have been many, many other such stupid things in so-called non-fictional publications since then. 🙁

    Reply
  85. This recalls me an old idea floated in a children’s book I read long ago (the Usborne books of the future).

    Huge geostationary satellites giving location, video and voice communication abilities to videotelephone wrist-bands!

    Of course, we ended up getting smartphones, which are supercomputers people back in the 70s couldn’t imagine getting so small and cheap, but the concept is very similar except in its actual execution and form.

    And we aren’t using satellites for giving them communication abilities, but local transceivers and antennas that can move data packets across the world in a few tens of miliseconds, ergo near imperceptible latency.

    And people now is used to that, considering anything less as unacceptable for daily use.

    Anything ressembling satellite Internet nowadays will need to take that expectation into account, or remain as a niche market like Iridium or other satellite Internet providers, which have their uses but are far from being a popular consumer phenomenon.

    Hence things like Starlink, which wants to bridge the gap between satellite Internet and consumer expectations.

    But I think this one above won’t stand a chance, considering those consumer expectations.

    Reply
  86. Geosynchronous orbit will be OK for relatively latency insensitive applications. If you’re gonna transmit from there, the servers need to be there too.
    At high latitudes ground clutter will become a problem. Trees absorb microwaves. For instance, I might prefer a low orbit constellation as my network , if I lived in British Colombia, or Scandinavia.

    Reply
  87. Pretty high latency. Only useful for nothing resembling real time communication.

    E-mail, streaming would be kind of OK. Instant messaging would be a bit laggy.

    MMORPG would be near unplayable, but that’s a niche.

    Reply

Leave a Comment