Artwork shows Astranis’ high-throughput telecommunications microsatellite in orbit. (Astranis Illustration)
A California-based startup called Astranis Space Technologies has signed a deal with SpaceX for the launch of its first geostationary satellite, which is due to widen Alaska’s access to broadband internet service in 2021.
The deal calls for SpaceX to launch Astranis’ microsatellite as a secondary payload on a Falcon 9 rocket, during a launch window beginning in the last quarter of 2020, CEO and co-founder John Gedmark announced today in a Medium post. SpaceX confirmed the deal in an email pointing to the post.
“We’re excited about what this means for Alaska, one of the most rugged states in America, and by extension, one of the hardest to serve with broadband internet,” Gedmark said.
Satellite broadband internet promises to connect billions of people in the world who don’t currently have easy, cheap access to global networks.
Companies such as Amazon, SpaceX and OneWeb are working on constellations that would make use of thousands of broadband satellites in low Earth orbit. In contrast, Astranis is developing a new breed of low-cost satellites that weigh about 660 pounds (300 kilograms) and would sit in stable orbital slots 22,000 miles above Earth’s ...