There are around 3 billion people, a little less than half of the world population, without access to telecommunications services, whether that is voice or data. Therefore, the opportunity to provide them with coverage services is a great business opportunity.
Additionally, this population is evenly distributed around the world, particularly in Africa, South America and Asia, so governments across the globe could be interested. Because we will need to comply with the regulations of each country, this endeavor will either make life easier or be a potential source of problems.
This market can be covered either by Medium Earth Orbit satellites or by GEO satellites. GEO satellites are good for data or TV broadcasting systems that don’t entail great interactivity or are not in real time. Because they are at an altitude of more than 36,000 km, signals take longer to come and go, causing delays of about one quarter of a second. For services without that latency, the solution is to use Medium Earth Orbit satellites because they are at a lower altitude and delays are virtually imperceptible. Satellite constellations are then necessary to offer permanent coverage, since they cannot remain above a specific area like GEO satellites.
In the last few years, High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS) have become increasingly popular, such as Airbus´s Zephyr, an electric plane with solar panels designed to stay in the air over a specific area. There are also projects to set up similar platforms using airships. They are cheaper to deploy than satellites and there are fewer delays in communication, not to mention the fact that they can land in order to be repaired and maintained. Unfortunately, they have not undergone significant testing.
We also have the option of combining satellites in different orbits with HAPS for deployments that are faster and/or that are better suited to meet the needs of some areas that are hard to reach via satellite. These areas don’t have enough user density to justify the investment.
In order to be competitive in this market, it is important to ensure that both the cost of the user terminals and the price of services are affordable, since many of the potential users will be in developing or third-world countries. The need to lower costs is an additional challenge. So is the collection system, because often times there will be no infrastructure to support it.
Space is digital
Conference of Juan Tomás Hernani, CEO of Satlantis, in the 31ST meeting of the Future Trends Forum. In his speech, Juan Tomás explains how the digital revolution has come also to the space. Not only in the management of supply and demand, but also in terms of technology that facilitates the space access or the creation of a new paradigm for the commercialization of space .
- LEO market
Creating a market in low Earth orbit
Creating new materials and building structures in orbit.
- Global connectivity
Building Earth's communication infrastructure from space.
- Access to space
Democratization of access to space
- Data leveraging
Capitalizing on data collected in space.
- LEO market