By 2024, SpaceX plans to launch about 12 thousand satellites. Photo by wikipedia.org
Facebook is secretly building a Internet satellite. Mark Zuckerberg intends to develop orbital technology, to compete with SpaceX and OneWeb for the delivery of Internet services.
Plans Facebook on the storming of the cosmos reveals application submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States. It is a question about the launch of the experimental satellite called Athena. It will deliver data 10 times faster than satellites SpaceX Starlink, the first of which was launched in February 2018 to Deliver a satellite into low orbit in early 2019 should rocket ArianespaceVega.
Athena is about the same size and weight (150 kg), and satellites, SpaceX and OneWeb, but Athena in contrast, will use high-frequency radio signals of millimeter (E-band), which promise much faster data transfer speeds.
Athena will be created on the platform of the satellite SSL-100. Photo: sslmda.com
If approved, Athena "effectively provide broadband access to the unemployed and underserved areas throughout the world". Application is not a public company PointViewTechLLC. According to media reports, this company is a new subsidiary of Facebook.
Launch company in the United States, must obtain permission from the FCC. Usually, they begin to build the spacecraft long before you will be able to submit your documents.
However, for the Internet "worldwide" one satellite is clearly not enough. If Facebook is serious about ensuring global communication, it is necessary to launch thousands of satellites. But in March, the FCC has approved plans for SpaceX to build a global broadband network "Starlink" with the use of satellites.
SpaceX seeks to accommodate almost 12 000 Starlinks in low-earth orbit to provide Gigabit Internet access in most parts of the earth’s surface. On the establishment of satellite Internet groups and said the British billionaire and the founder of the VirginGroup, Richard Branson. Internet coverage using maybe 1000 satellites.
Photo: Facebook / bluerubicon.com
But the FCC takes very seriously the risk of orbital collisions. And if the FCC will deny, Facebook, in the creation of orbital constellation, then it will be at least the second time. Elon Musk disrupted the orbital plans of Mark Zuckerberg.
Earlier Facebook and SpaceX were partners. In 2016 they planned to launch a communication satellite Amos-6, which Facebook wanted to use Internet access in Africa. However, the Falcon9 rocket carrying the satellite exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.
"Deeply disappointed"- said mark Zuckerberg learned that the launch failed.
Mark Zuckerberg the application and plans to create an orbital group has not commented. However, Facebook is also interested in millimeter waves. Already in 2015 in FCCSubmitted application "testing the potential of new communication applications using E-band" unmanned aircraft in Los Angeles and around.
In 2016 Facebook announced the first test flight of its high-altitude solar drones Aquila using the technology of the E-band. Trials of this technology continued until 2017.