NASA’s compact CubeSats have been sent into orbit and apparantly are ready to begin communicating with Earth – and that means the space agency can begin testing the viability of getting broadband to and from space for the first time ever.
The CubeSat network isn’t the first broadband satellite communications system NASA has tested, but it provides faster speeds with smaller hardware. These satellites could eventually enable super-fast data transfers between people on Earth and astronauts in space.
Whilst most of us use BT, TalkTalk, Virgin or Sky we can’t see NASA offering this service to the public any time soon…or at all for that matter!!
This is another significant step towards a fully functioning system that could eventually provide downloads speeds of 200Mb/s for the people of our planet.
Global giants including Google and Facebook are already busy building networks with drones and balloons that stay just inside the Earth’s atmosphere. What makes NASA’s initiative interesting is just how accurate and small these CubeSats are: the satellites measure just 10cm (about 4 inches) square.
Whilst this same technology has many potential uses: deep-space communication, for example, and ensuring that spacecraft in orbit are correctly aligned and dock successfully with each other. NASA says the CubeSats will be “driving exploration” in the coming years.
Over the next few months NASA is going to test the satellites’ ability to communicate with Earth and with each other, while another batch of CubeSats are scheduled to head out of the atmosphere next February.
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