Facebook Successful Satellite Launch will Increase Internet Access

26th Oct 2020
Satellite Connections

Facebook joined other budding companies that are planning to send satellites into space. This happened a month ago when the Arianespace Vega craft carried their spacecraft along with 52 others. 

This move was a test for Facebook as it opted for a lightweight spacecraft weighing only 138kgs. Very little is known of the mission since the company has decided to divulge little information, however, the question remains about its purpose so far.

The Purpose of Facebook’s First Satellite Launch

Facebook remains tight-lipped about the use of its first satellite, launched on 2nd September. Their disclosure was a ‘broadband’ mission that seeks to increase internet connectivity across the world. In line with this, the company believes internet infrastructure will highly depend on such spacecrafts for further advancement in the future. 

Furthermore, they are passionate about filling the gap between those with access to internet connectivity (broadband) and those without. However, this does not mean that Facebook intends to become a satellite technology company. 

The company has made it clear they don’t harbor such ambitions. Instead they have joined forces with companies that specialize in satellite launch. Back in 2015,  the social media company signed a deal with Eulasat. This made it possible for the company to access Ka-band capacity in the form of a lease lasting five years and reaching 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Eulasat didn’t have the capacity on its craft and sourced it from Spacecom in Israel, which did hold the required bandwidth. The bandwidth was on the Amos-6 craft, and the whole deal required $20 million annually. 

Nevertheless, the mission failed after a massive explosion on the SpaceX craft in 2016. The disaster led to Facebook seeking alternative means for its satellite launch mission. 

The Launch of ‘Athena’

After the failed launch with Eulasat, in came Maxar technologies that built ‘Athena,’ the first successful satellite launch by Facebook. Its mission is to provide internet access to marginalized parts of the world that remain overlooked. All this was accomplished under a company dabbed Pointview Tech LLC, who got FCC approval for the project. 

The mission requires Athena to be in orbit for two years. During this time, the spacecraft shall cover an area over 500km high. 

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