In the quest for faster and reliable internet, we have traded our likes from electric cables to optical fibers. And now the time has come for a new technology called satellite internet constellation which is step up in way of the internet. It has promising low latency headache-free satellite internet and connectivity to every part of the world. This technology sure sounds enterprising and is sure to rock the communication business all around. So how near are we to video call with short latency as possible, let’s find out.
Why it’s different?
Satellite is not a new thing in technology. It has already been over half a century since the soviet union launched the first satellite Sputnik 1. The use of satellites in communication is also no new. About two thousand satellites are used for broadcasting television, radio, telephone, and military application. The difference between two is the orbit in which these satellites work. The orbit of satellite means the regular repeating path around the earth that satellite takes. Most of the communication satellites used today are in geosynchronous orbit about 22,200 miles (35,700 km). However, this new idea has been put forward to launch small, lighter satellites into low earth orbit(LEO) which is about 1200 miles(2000 km). The orbital distance is even lower for some corporation to about 341miles(550 km) which is the one-tenth of the distance between New York and London.
How does satellite constellation work?
The thing about satellite and orbit is that higher the orbit higher the latency it gets, and more region it could cover from the top. On the other hand, for the low orbit satellites, the latency gets lower but the area a single satellite could cover is decreased. Because of this higher number of satellites is needed. And to meet this demand, we need a lighter new type of satellites.
So, you want to video chat with your friends over the continent. Your message is first sent to the LEO satellites with the help of a phased array antenna. A phased array antenna is a radio antenna that can direct their communication without moving parts. The message is then received by the one satellite and the message is transmitted between satellites using lasers. The satellite over the continent receives the message and sends it back down to earth where another antenna receives it and sends it to the required device.
Crowded space of Satellites constellation
The new technology always comes with shortcomings and most are unaware of it. The hope of a faster low latency bandwidth might camouflage us to its side effects. Thousands of satellites in orbit making constellation will sure make it crowded. Additionally, this new technology gains no support from astronomers as it can directly interfere with their works in collecting data from vast space. The rouge malfunctioned satellite can add more debris to our orbits which poses another huge problem. Is it safe to launch those satellites and what if they reach the earth’s surface? The answer is, the satellite is small and set on fire before reaching the earth’s surface and it is certified safe.
SpaceX and Starlink
SpaceX is the leading main player in this new internet technology. It has 60 satellites(each about 500 lbs(227 kg) thus far on-orbit and planning to launch about 12000 satellites by 2027.
SpaceX has agreed on a conditional-agreement to license with FCC to launch 4400 satellites by 2024 and to install remaining by 2027. This deal has made SpaceX make about five to ten launches per year supposing 60 satellites per launch to be on time. This might even heat the process for SpaceX to finish this highly ambitious project. Moreover, SpaceX is currently working on falcon heavy and big falcon rocket which is revolutionizing every aspect of space travel. These new rockets have higher payload capacity than any rockets built ever. Thus making SpaceX company more commending then other corporations to reach their goal with the increased payload capacity.
OneWeb satellite constellation, London based company is another huge challenger in this technology. To provide global internet coverage, there will need to be 648 units in orbit, but the final number could rise to around 2,000 for one web. The first six satellites have already been deployed for this mega constellation project with the help of Soyuz rocket. The number of a satellite is expected to launch at the rate of 30-32 satellites per month.
Moreover, amazon project Kuiper, facebook’s Athena and Samsung, Boeing are also involved in this new hot race of global network. But none of these companies have launched their own satellite to date. So, the new global internet is coming for sure and the optical fiber cables laid throughout the land and sea will be outdated and discarded as the new dawn rises. And for you, be ready for faster internet to dive in Satellites constellation new faster way of the internet.