Fast, cheap internet satellites launched
- Published: 26 Jun 2013 at 15.22
- Online news:
The first four of 12 satellites in a new constellation to provide affordable, high-speed internet to people in nearly 180 "under-connected" countries were blasted into space on Tuesday.
The orbiters, part of a project dubbed O3b, for the "other 3 billion" people with restricted Internet access, were lifted by a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kourou in French Guiana at 1927 GMT, according to a live broadcast on the website of launch company Arianespace.
The project was born from the frustrations of US Internet pioneer Greg Wyler with the inadequacy of Rwanda's telecommunications network while travelling there in 2007. He came up with a plan to bypass costly ground-based infrastructure like fibre-optics or cables by deploying a constellation of small satellites around the equator to serve as a spatial relay between users and the worldwide web using only satellite dishes.
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