Startup Sateliot plans to launch 256 satellites by 2025 to enable text messaging even when you’re beyond the reach of ground-based antennas.
SpaceX, the space exploration company founded by Elon Musk, has launched a new batch of satellites into orbit as part of its Starlink initiative. Starlink aims to provide global satellite internet coverage by deploying a network of thousands of small satellites into low Earth orbit.
While the primary goal of Starlink is to provide high-speed internet access to underserved communities around the world, the initiative has also sparked interest from a number of startups who see an opportunity to build cell towers in space.
According to reports, several startups are exploring the possibility of using SpaceX’s Starlink satellites as a platform for deploying cell towers into space. These companies believe that by placing cell towers in space, they can provide cellular coverage to remote areas of the world that are currently underserved by terrestrial cell towers.
One such startup is AST & Science, which has developed a proprietary technology called SpaceMobile that can provide 4G and 5G cellular coverage from space. The company plans to launch a network of 20 satellites into orbit by 2023, with the goal of providing global cellular coverage by 2025.
Another startup, Lynk, has developed a similar technology that can provide cellular coverage using low Earth orbit satellites. The company recently secured $65 million in funding to further develop its technology and launch its own network of satellites.
While the idea of placing cell towers in space may seem far-fetched, it is not without precedent. In the 1990s, a company called Iridium launched a network of 66 low Earth orbit satellites to provide satellite phone coverage around the world. While Iridium ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 1999, its network was later acquired by a new company and continues to provide satellite phone services to this day.
As SpaceX continues to deploy more satellites into orbit as part of its Starlink initiative, it is likely that we will see more startups exploring the possibilities of space-based cellular coverage. While there are still significant technical and regulatory hurdles to overcome, the potential benefits of space-based cellular coverage could be enormous, particularly for remote and underserved areas of the world.
By The Impactlab