The U.S. Airforce Research Laboratory (AFRL) is looking to benefit from a commercial internet connection through thousands of small satellites or CubeSat’s. The AFRL believes these commercial satellites could provide wider bandwidth and help protect against the emerging anti-satellite threats. The AFRL envisions its stealth aircraft sharing secure data over a commercial space internet like the one OneWeb is planning.
The Air Force is testing two experimental satellites launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Feb 22nd. The test will include mounting antennas on test aircraft in hopes of establishing a commercial internet connection says Lara Seligman of Aviation Week & Space Technology.
The Air Force is finally catching on to a revolution in the commercial small satellite world. Feb. 22 SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying two experimental satellites from Vandenberg AFB, California, to test out technologies for a mega constellation of small satellites that would provide high-speed internet and other communications services directly to consumers, businesses and other subscribers. And SpaceX is just one of many commercial firms that are starting to experiment with such a service. OneWeb is scheduled to begin launching its 720-satellite broadband constellation later this year.
This revolution could have wide-ranging implications for an increasingly connected battlefield if the U.S. military can leverage the emerging capability. A commercial space-based internet comprising dozens if not hundreds of small satellites could potentially provide much wider bandwidth for information-sharing between platforms. And as potential adversaries develop increasingly sophisticated anti-satellite capabilities, it is also a more resilient solution than the current mix of large, dedicated military spacecraft.
Source: Aviation Week