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Canada Space The Internet Science

Canadian Firm Plans 78-Satellite Net Service 143

matty619 writes "A CNET article is reporting on another try at low earth orbit satellites for internet access, reminiscent of Teledesic, an ill fated $9 billion Bill Gates/Paul Allen et al venture originally consisting of 840 low earth orbit satellites (LEO-SAT). From the article: 'MSCI, which stands for Microsat Systems Canada Inc., is trying to be a bit of a maverick with its project, called CommStellation. The company said today that its approach of using small, inexpensive satellites in low orbit — about 620 miles above the Earth — means better coverage of the world's population, quicker launch, and better network capacity.' Each MSCI satellite has a data-transfer capacity of 12 gigabits per second. The expected lifespan of each is 10 years, and they can be sent back into the atmosphere at the end of their lives to avoid more orbital clutter."
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Canadian Firm Plans 78-Satellite Net Service

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  • by DirtyCanuck ( 1529753 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:06PM (#34933852)

    This is Canada bud, we have the most land per person with gaps in population not seen in most places in the world.

    Even in Northern Ontario where cell service and broadband exists, there are still consistent areas that have access only to dial up.

    I have seen customers first hand, who had no service while their neighbor across the road had High Speed Bell or Cogeco.

    When we start to take into consideration people that can't even access dial up it becomes apparent that there is a glaring gap in equal access to internet up here in the proper North.

    With Bell and Rogers running the show it becomes very evident that an ideal way to harness these customers is to offer some sort of over the air service not already in place.

  • by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:12PM (#34933894)
    Satellites naturally end up with modest densities, not super tightly packed (usually). Weight tends to be at more of a premium than space, especially when you have bulky things like solar panels and antennas involved. A few small, dense pieces might reach the ground, but that's not normally an issue. They'll be deorbited over the ocean, for starters, and the total mass reaching the ground is small.
  • by emt377 ( 610337 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:13PM (#34933910)

    High ping, high jitter, low bandwidth once you factor in number of users and high cost, what could be better?

    622 miles is really quite low and would only add about 10-12ms to the roundtrip. It's only a little more than the distance from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Jitter and bandwidth is a matter of pricing, and presumably there will be service tiers. Oversell it enough and it will be crap. Price it to manage demand and it could be excellent. If they can make this work anywhere in the world (why else 78 nodes) with an access device resembling a small book or hockey puck, then I predict monumental success.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:23PM (#34934002)

    First, because then it might blow up on accident and there goes your very expensive satellite. Second, it might blow up at a bad time (launch) which would be very bad for the rest of the satellites on your launch. Third, if you blow it up you're going to create a lot of debris you can't track. Most satellites are in GEO and have their orbits raised at the end of life to open up there orbital slots. There's no point to blow those up since the debris wouldn't enter the atmosphere. If you're in LEO then you'd still have to make sure there aren't any satellites below you before you blow up since you'll lose control of all of the pieces, and if you can control the descent of one spacecraft into the atmosphere to burn up you may as well not blow it up. Space junk is actually a huge problem for satellites and it's likely only to get worse.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:09PM (#34934886)
    LEO satellites will have lower latency than dial-up. Using experience with a GEO service to represent all possible satellite services is silly.

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