The head of Samsung Research America (SRA) boosted the idea of developing a constellation of small satellites to engirdle the Earth and provide inhabitants of the planet with a low-cost broadband satellite Internet. According to Samsung’s calculations, such a constellation could estimate up to 4,6 thousand small satellites.
The most giant satellite companies in the world actively explore the idea of invention a constellation of small satellites for Internet services. So, already exists O3b twelve-satellite constellation. Moreover in the research activities are engaged SES, as well as the Richard Branson’s consortium and Elon Musk – billionaire and co-founder of PayPal.
According to the research paper published by Farook Khan, head of SRA, the constellation of satellites, which are already used by his South Korean company, could have huge benefits. Allegedly, the millimetre wave technology could be the base for development of 5G.
SRA is situated in the heart of Silicon Valley but Mr. Khan works in the laboratory of Dallas. He claims that using 5G technology based on a constellation of small satellites would simplify broadband satellite Internet access and reduce the costs on the constellation.
Samsung developers suppose there could be available about 100 GHz for millimetre wave spectrum what exceeds mobile networks spectrum we use today almost in 200 times. This would permit significantly increase data traffic. However there’s a serious problem: millimetre waves can’t penetrate solid walls and glass, what makes the use of technology almost impossible for indoor devices.
Samsung engineers propose to solve this problem by usage of various antennas in the form of the narrow directed beams thereby strengthening a signal without the need for use of additional capacities.
This solution works for radar-location and communication in space for quite a long time. Today such antennas are widely used in other branches. Khan and his team obtained their first patent on the technology fragment in 2010. SpaceWorks says there were launched 158 small satellites (among them 107 commercial) in 2014, what surpassed analysts’ assumptions showing 72% increase in 2013.
Taking into consideration the plans of a number of American companies, investing billions in projects on launches of small satellites, 2020 is expected to be a year of mass launching.
According to SpaceWorks, in 2014-2016 commerce satellites will make about 56 % of all the satellites’ launchings. About 9% will fall to share of communication satellites. The main growth is expected in a segment of nanosatellites from 1 till 10 kg in size. Nevertheless this rate could be significantly changed by 2020 when a leading role in satellites’ launching play commercial satellites.
J’son & Partners Consulting reported that the biggest investors into new satellites are O3b, Iridium Next, Inmarsat Global Xpress, OneWeb, Yaliny, LeoSat, SpaceX who’re planning to launch 5113 satellites.
Ambitious projects are also stated for the satellite Internet. So, Elon Musk, a founder of Tesla and SpaceX, is going to launch about 700 small telecommunications satellites, which will help to beam Internet to all corners of the world. A total amount of the investment makes about $ 1 billion.
SpaceX is far not the only interested company. Marc Zuckerberg claimed his interest in the technology, while Google invests into satellite Internet since at least 2008. That time Google invested into O3b, which was bought by SES. Now Google intends to invest into satellite Internet $ 1 billion more.