In recent years, there has been a global upsurge of LEO constellation Internet. At present, the transmission of Internet data mainly depends on optical cables, and the laying cost of optical cables is high and the coverage is limited, especially in mountainous or island areas. Compared with underground or submarine optical cables, communication satellites cover a wide range and are not limited by ground conditions. Among them, LEO communication satellites have low cost, fast technology update speed and low communication delay. Therefore, oneweb, telesat, SpaceX, Boeing and other companies have put forward LEO communication satellite constellation plans one after another. According to the frequency resource application information released by the U.S. FCC, there are more than ten LEO satellite communication constellation plans applying to enter the U.S. market. Most of these companies said to launch their first generation constellation system within five years. According to the latest news, Amazon has also begun to plan Satellite Internet services. It plans to send 3236 network satellites into low earth orbit to provide Internet services around the world.

Can the commercial operation of LEO constellation Internet succeed?

The development of LEO constellation Internet has attracted the attention of the United States and other governments. The United States approved the SpaceX Satellite Internet Project – space “Starlink” in February 2018. In March 2018, China announced the deployment of the global LEO satellite constellation communication system – “Hongyan constellation”. The US military has also paid attention to this emerging communication technology. In December 2018, the U.S. Air Force strategic development planning and Test Office signed a contract with SpaceX to test different ways that the military may use Starlink broadband services before its constellation Internet has full network communication capability.

Whether the commercial operation of LEO constellation Internet can succeed is still a challenge. At the end of last century, iridium and Globalstar invested heavily in the satellite phone market, but the cellular mobile network occupied the target market faster. Constellation systems such as iridium can only transform other data transmission services. The LEO constellation of SpaceX, O3b, oneweb and other companies aims at developing countries and people with insufficient optical fiber network coverage. This group pays more attention to whether the price of network and terminal is low and whether it is convenient to use. However, due to the large number of Internet satellites in LEO constellation, it is difficult to significantly reduce the cost of satellite manufacturing and TT & C operation in a short time. At the same time, the ground mobile communication network is developing rapidly, and the speed of 5g replacing 4G is much faster than expected. At & T, T-Mobile and sprint announced at the world mobile conference at the beginning of this year that 5g services will be launched to some American cities later this year. Therefore, it is generally believed in the industry that although the global LEO constellation Internet is developing in full swing, there will not be too many successful operations in the end.

        Editor in charge: Tzh

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