Advanced Television

Russia gets approval for satellite broadband

December 5, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, Russia has succeeded in gaining regulatory approval for a global broadband-by-satellite constellation. The project – called Sphere – already has one satellite in orbit, a ”demonstration” SkyF-D craft, launched on October 22nd.

Russian Space Agency Roscosmos is backing the scheme, and the Russian government has plans to invest some $370 million by 2024 having spent $92.5 million last year and similar sums in 2022 and annually until 2024.

The system calls for an initial 12 satellites but a total of 264 in the full constellation and which operate in a Medium Earth orbit (MEO) of 8070 kms. The project is planned to initially serve Russia before expanding to the rest of the planet.

It is the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) which authorised the SkyF project despite delays in the manufacturing of the satellite.

Sphere is described as a public/private project although it is as yet unclear as to who will be financing the constellation, not whether international sanctions against Russia will permit rapid progress to be made.

Last year, before the Ukraine war, the Sphere project was said to be one of the key projects of Roscosmos and aimed at developing space information technologies and eliminating the so-called digital inequality. Thanks to it, “the most modern communication and monitoring system will be created, including both the existing and future space infrastructure,” stated Roscosmos.

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