Russian engineers plan to extend Internet to space
December 25th, 2010 - 11:48 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.
Russian engineers have started drawing up a new “Kosmonet” project, and its implementation will provide an opportunity for the Runet users to enter the “Space” Internet.
The developers say that rapid access to the Internet is only part of the task set before the “Kosmonet”. They give priority to guaranteeing communications between spacecraft and establishing control over flying objects from any point on the Earth and stable communications with remote regions of Russia. “Such a communication system is crucial for the north and in the Polar Regions because satellites in the geostationary orbit cannot provide access to these regions. In fact, to built transmitter units there or lay optic fibre cables to these regions is either economically inexpedient or technically impossible, says deputy head of the Russian space agency,” Vitaly Davydov.
“The new project is an upgraded version of the present system known as “Gonets” (Messenger). “It’s crucial for Russia to have the possibility of ensuring communication with any of its satellites at any time and linking them with the mission control centres. In short, we are “lifting” the Internet into orbit. At present, there is no such a system, and we hope to enter into this market first,” Vitaly Davydov said.
“According to the president of the “Gonets” Satellite System” Company, Alexander Galkevich, it has been planned to place a group of 48 satellites into orbit that will cover the entire planet. In fact, 18 satellites are sufficient for Russia. This will make it possible to provide services that are highly sought on the market,” says Mr Galkevich.
“Among the services demanded by consumers are voice communications, broadband broadcasting, video conferencing and transmitting short messages. Such services are not provided comprehensively by any existing system in the world,” Alexander Galkevich said.
The developers emphasize that the “Kosmonet” does not depend on ground infrastructure. Communications will be maintained with the assistance of terminals and basic stations through satellites. Consequently, emergency situations such as earthquakes or other calamities cannot interrupt communications. The ground transmitting and receiving stations usually go out of order in such incidents. The “Kosmonet” will help to control the movements of dangerous cargo shipments and link with ships at any point on a sea or an ocean.
According to preliminary estimates, about US$20 billion will be needed to implement the project. This will pay off in ten years. The preparations for launching the work have to be completed in three years. It will take five years to create the full-fledged space group.