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Google and Facebook Cancel Satellite Plans

schwit1 writes: Facebook and Google have both cancelled their plans to build satellite systems to provide global internet access.
It appears Google pulled out earlier this year, while Facebook’s decision was revealed today (paywalled). Google remains a partner in Skybox, a space imaging company, as well as O3b, which is trying to provide internet using satellites. “While Facebook’s cancelled project comes from the more traditional approach to satellite internet, the current hope of Wyler and other satellite entrepreneurs is that constellations made up of many small satellites could solve those two problems. They would offer faster service, since they are closer to earth than the typical communication satellites, which fly at high altitudes to maximize coverage; and they would cost less, since tiny satellites are typically less expensive than their larger siblings. But even this plan may over-promise—one of the pioneers of the satellite business, Martin Sweeting, chairman of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., compared interest in small satellites to the froth on top of a cappuccino. The technical challenges to flying and operating a full-fledged constellation of them may still prove too difficult to surmount.”


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