revolution has radically changed the way we live and
work. But more than three billion people are still
As with any infrastructure, fast data
connections initially reach urban centers.
live in rural areas, even in rich industrialized
countries, often have to get by without reduced
Now several consortia are competing to bridge
this gap with the help of hundreds of mini-satellites in
The idea is not entirely new:
25 years ago,
others already failed because of their over-ambitious
plans and technical limitations.
It is only now that
high numbers of satellites can be produced quickly and
cheaply through automation and mass production.
February 2019, the OneWeb consortium launched the first
six 150-kilogram satellites into a low-earth orbit.
their way to their final orbit at an altitude of 1,200
kilometers, the satellites must pass through a dense
array of GPS and Earth observation satellites as well as
the space debris of the past 60 years.
not exceptional. And hundreds more mini-satellites in
space will mean even more space debris in the future.
Dozens of ground stations are needed around the globe to
supply the numerous satellites with Internet data and
receive data from space.
This requires sophisticated
antenna technology, which is also as yet available on
the necessary scale.
Not to mention the difficult
regulatory challenges facing Internet providers in over
200 states and territories.