Advanced Television

Facebook planning satellite system?

May 4, 2018

Over the past couple of years, social media giant Facebook has examined (and even contracted for) satellite capacity. Now a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revealed plans that a probable Facebook subsidiary has for its own satellite constellation.

The somewhat secret business, PointView Tech, wants a satellite which is new in concept and operation, and might be considered a ‘state of the art’ project in terms of technology.

PointView, in its FCC filing, says its satellite, named Athena, will use the undeveloped E-band (71-76/81-86 GHz) and that a test “millimetre wave” satellite will launch next year. PointView wants FCC permission to launch the test craft is being built by Space Systems/Loral, and probably will be launched by an Arianespace Vega rocket.

E-band, says PointView, is capable of delivering Internet traffic at speeds 10 times faster than rival Elon Musk’s proposed Starlink constellation. However, E-band’s signals suffer badly from so-called ‘rain fade’ and atmospheric absorption (which is why it isn’t used by conventional satellite operations) and that this is why PointView wants to test the concept.

PointView Tech is registered in Delaware.

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