Facebook may launch its Internet satellite in March

Despite the delays, Facebook is still actively working on plans to launch satellites. Documents filed in the FCC, suggests that the Athena satellite could be launched in March 2020.

Facebook, the Initiative aims to help provide Internet access in those parts of the world where the bad connection. It’s part of the mission, which is to “to bring the world closer” — or, more specifically, to expand the total potential market for its services and fuel its future growth and revenues.

Despite the long galaxy of high-profile scandals involving Facebook, the space ambitions of Zuckerberg remain unchanged. The upcoming launch of the satellite is experimental, and will be only the first step in a broader project to create a network of satellites designed to provide people worldwide access the Internet. If successful, it can compete with similar projects from SpaceX or OneWeb.

Facebook Plans to launch satellite Internet repeatedly postponed for various reasons. So, in September of 2016 Facebook has signed a contract with the company Elon musk SpaceX to launch satellite, but the rocket exploded on the launch pad before takeoff.

the Company is also working on the creation of low-orbit satellites, code-named Athena, after the Greek goddess of wisdom and knowledge Athena. It is anticipated that such satellites will use millimeter waves.

the Athena Project was launched via associated with the Facebook company PointView Tech LLC, thereby, the participation of Facebook was not advertised until some time. In the application filed with the FCC in April 2018, lawyers PointView Tech said that Athena will test new communication technologies to form a “broadband infrastructure of the next generation in regions where currently available advanced telecommunications services”.

At that time it was assumed that the launch will be producedn “at the beginning of 2019,” but this did not happen. The press-Secretary of company Space Systems Loral, which built the satellite for Facebook confirmed to Business Insider that is scheduled for 2019 launch did not take place.

Facebook declined to provide information on plans for the launch and limited only to this statement: “Although at the moment we have nothing to say about specific projects, we believe that satellite technology will be an important factor in the development of broadband infrastructure the next generation”.

And, despite various delays and setbacks, Facebook is still planning to continue sputnikovoy the project, as evidenced by the documents that PointView filed at the FCC in December 2019. According to the statement, Facebook asks you to change your license to “experimental permit”, to add additional ground stations (in Norway and Antarctica) to communicate with the satellite, which indicates that Zuckerberg’s company is quietly preparing to launch a satellite.

Perhaps the delay is a Vega rocket, designed for launching satellites into space. In July the rocket because of an accident on stage, not second stage into orbit optical-electronic remote sensing satellite Falcon Eye Earth-1. The French company Arianespace, which carries out launches from the Kourou, created a joint ESA Commission on investigation of causes of accident. Damage to the company amounted to $ 415 million. Vega launches have been suspended until the end of the year, but now the company is preparing to resume work in 2020.

the Exact date of the launch of Facebook is unknown, but it is likely that this will happen in the framework of SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service), where the payload will be satellite from 42 different companies. Start SSMS also originally planned for early 2019, but was postponed in the same way as the launch of “Athens”.

In a press release, published in January 2020 years, the company Arianespace said the flight SSMS Vega will be held in March, and informal online calendar, compiled RocketLaunch.Live has a launch date of March 23, 2020. Yet Facebook is only one experimental satellite and its service life will be only two years.