Kepler's Nano LEO Satellite Delivers Ultrafast Broadband to Arctic
Canadian company Kepler Communications has successfully deployed two tiny Nano Satellites’ – no bigger than a breadbox in your kitchen – to help deliver low latency “ultrafast broadband” (100Mbps+) speeds to the polar (Arctic) regions from Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The spacecraft are now being used by maritime vessels and researchers.
Traditional GEO Stationary Orbit (GSO) satellites are huge (size of a large bus) and struggle to deliver latency times of less than 600ms (milliseconds), which is largely because they orbit some 35,000km+ from Earth. All of this makes them very expensive to both build and launch (plus they take years to build), although a single one can serve hundreds of thousands – potentially millions – of users.
At this point regular readers may recall that we’ve touched on the advantages of alternative LEO based satellite technology on a few occasions, often while writing about the huge constellations of such spacecraft being deployed by companies like SpaceX and OneWeb (here and here). Typically these are much smaller (half the height of a person, with solar sails folded), weigh around 75-250Kg and obit c.1000km from Earth (faster latency of around 25-45ms).
However Kepler’s Nano satellites are even smaller. At present the company has two in orbit over the Arctic, KIPP and CASE, with a third (TARS) set to go live shortly. Fellow geeky types will no doubt recognise those names from certain movies (e.g. Interstellar) and other space related references.
As an example....