Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by bit-tech, 23 Jul 2018.
For those thinking "wait, didn't Facebook already try that?", that was for lease of capacity on AMOS-6, a 'regular old' GSO telecommunications satellite.
Athena on the other hand joins OneWeb/WorldVu, Starlink, and many past schemes (e.g. Iridium, Globalstar, ORBCOMM, Teledesic) all of whom went through bankruptcy but only some survived - user large constellations of LEO satellites that can be smaller and cheaper, and require less power to communicate with (as they are closer) but require active tracking of the antenna or a lower link rate with an omnidirectional antenna (e.g. Iridium). StarLink and OneWeb/WorldVu are competing for limited RF spectrum (with 'winner takes all' assignment by the FCC making it a race to deploy a viable constellation ASAP) so I don't see PointView being able to muscle in from so far behind in development - StarLink already has two test satellites in orbit.
On the aircraft side, Airbus announced series production of the Zephyr at Farnborough, so it's clear why Facebook cancelled their in-house project in favour of buying an off-the-shelf option.
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