Nano-satellite specialist Sky and Space Global has achieved a major milestone in proving that nano-satellites can power mobile communications.
This is another step towards the company’s ambition to open up access to communications networks for remote locations and emerging markets.
In some parts of the world, getting access to communications services like mobile phone calls, messaging and image exchange is really difficult. Actually, it can be nigh-on impossible. But providing infrastructure by conventional means is too complex and expensive in some areas – and the resulting cost of access would be way beyond the budgets of potential users of the service.
Yet it’s exactly those emerging markets and remote locations that are tricky to serve that could benefit the most from access to communications services. So instead of using conventional means, Sky and Space Global has a plan to deliver communications services through satellites.
The company has a single, clearly articulated aim: to provide affordable communication services to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Building the grid
The first step in achieving this ambition was the launch of three nano-satellites that Sky and Space global calls the ‘3 Diamonds‘ in June this year. By 2020, the company hopes to have as many as 200 satellites in equatorial orbit.
The great benefit of using satellites to enable communications is that they are less expensive than more conventional means. Nano-satellites are cheaper to produce than conventional communications infrastructure, and less expensive to run over the longer term too.
Having got three satellites into orbit is one thing. Proving that the system works is quite another. This was the next major milestone for Sky and Space Global – and it has been met.
The first ever phone call, instant message, voice recording and image transfer facilitated by nano-satellites has been achieved thanks to the 3 Diamonds. This proves that the system works, and should be a step on the way to demonstrating to telecommunications providers that the idea is viable.
Customers on board
A solid proof of concept is a positive, but customers and investment are needed to keep Sky and Space Global on track to realize its ambitions.
The company has already pre-sold the satellite communications bandwidth capacity to be provided by the first 3 satellites to Sat-Space Africa and GlobalSat Group in Latin America, and recently attracted more than $10m of investment. So, perhaps we are looking at the start of a communications revolution.