Internet by satellite. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, the challenge has begun.


ELON MUSK AND JEFF BEZOS ARE ALREADY IN COMPETITION ON SATELLITE LAUNCH CONTRACTS FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE COMPANIES MISSILE, SPACEX AND BLUE ORIGIN.

They will soon also be faced with the potentially lucrative business of providing broadband internet through constellations of hundreds, if not thousands, of small satellites. In April, Bezos’ Amazon.com Inc. joined the already populated race of SpaceX and OneWeb, which have already launched their first satellites. Both companies, along with others, have received Federal Communications Commission approval to use spectrum for their networks.

Although Amazon is the latest company to jump into this field, analysts say the company’s wealth gives Bezos a good chance to outperform several established competitors.

LONG-TERM PROJECTS.

Tim Farrar, president of Menlo Park’s satellite and telecommunications consulting firm TMF Associates, said the companies with the most funding and the best partners will win this challenge. For his part, Jeff Bezos believes in the project and has invested a lot of money in the Blue Origin project, aware of the fact that it will have no short-term economic return.

Amazon’s initiative, known as Project Kuiper, revolves around a constellation of ben 3236 satellites at the lower end of Earth’s orbit, at least according to documents filed with the International Telecommunication Union. The United Nations agency deals with the allocation of satellite orbits and the global radio spectrum and develops technical standards to help connect the Internet around the world.

Amazon in a statement hinted that the Kuiper Project is a long term project, but that it will be able to serve “tens of millions of people who do not have basic broadband Internet access”. The goal is the same for SpaceX and Telesat from Elon Musk and OneWeb, whose main investor is Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

Kristi Morgansen, professor and acting chair of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Washington said, “I don’t know that there will be a single company that will dominate”, “As we have seen with internet providers and other types of infrastructure there are currently a whole host of opportunities ”.

THE MARKET

One of the most credible hypotheses is that Amazon could use its broadband service to fully connect its users to home devices, such as the virtual assistant Alexa, or the futuristic drone delivery service.

But doubts remain, at least from Farrar, who sees two possibilities: great success or failure as happened to Iriduim in the 90s.
Iridium has built a constellation of satellites to provide voice and data coverage to phones and pagers. Iridium was originally designed by Bary Bertiger, Raymond J. Leopold and Ken Peterson in late 1987 under a patent from Motorola.

THE CHALLENGE

With the improvement in technology and the miniaturization of electronic components, satellite manufacturers and operators have developed smaller, cheaper satellites that can be easily refueled rather than relying on large and expensive satellites operating at a geostationary level. in the lower range of the atmosphere.

Note that some Earth imaging satellites today are no bigger than a loaf of bread.

Eric Kronenberg, general manager of aerospace, defense and aviation practices at consulting firm AlixPartners, said of the Bezos project that it will take a long time to design, test and build these satellites.

A Tweet from Farrar (president of Menlo Park TMF Associates) highlights what everyone has been waiting for:

“It’s all part of the great fight between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk” … “The two are at war, and it’s just a battle.”





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