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Return of the Low Earth Orbit Satellites (LEO-SATs)
MSCI's COMMStellation Is Determined To Try Again
by Karl Bode 02:09PM Wednesday Jan 19 2011 Tipped by FFH5 See Profile
If you've been around here for a while you'll remember Teledesic, a Bill Gates-funded plan that involved (originally) 840 lower altitude satellites intended to offer satellite broadband service. With a price tag of $9 billion the project was overly ambitious and didn't get very far. Recently the idea of low-altitude satellite broadband has seen a renewed push but on a more modest scale aimed at developing countries (see the Google-funded wholesale O3b Networks project). Now CNET notes a company called Microsat Systems Canada is planning another such network of 78 satellites aimed at easing wireless network congestion through additional backhaul:
MSCI plans to launch satellites starting in 2014 and reach full network capability in 2015. Each MSCI satellite has a data-transfer capacity of 12 gigabits per second. The expected lifespan of each is 10 years, and they can be sent back into the atmosphere at the end of their lives to avoid more orbital clutter. MSCI plans to launch 84 satellites into six orbital planes, each 30 degrees apart. Each orbital plane gets 13 primary satellites and one spare.
Granted low-earth-orbit satellite (LEO-SATs) plans like Teledesic were among the more stellar failures of last decade, though MCSI's press release insists that via "non-traditional thinking" they've conquered problems in the sector related to the high costs of such projects.

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