When you think of internet service providers, Boeing probably isn’t the first company that comes to mind. Nonetheless, the aerospace manufacturing giant has its eyes set on developing an internet service. Boeing isn’t developing a traditional landline internet service, though. It’s working on a satellite-based internet service.
About Boeing’s New Satellite-Based Internet Service
Boeing’s new satellite-based internet service will leverage a network of low Earth orbit satellites. Low Earth orbit, of course, refers to an orbit that’s close to Earth. It’s typically described as an orbit of 1,200 miles above Earth’s surface or less. Boeing’s new project will consist of a network of low Earth satellites that beam internet service to customers throughout the world.
While it may sound like a bold idea, Boeing has been working on its new satellite-based internet service for several years. The aerospace manufacturing giant applied for a license to launch the satellites almost five years ago. Since then, it’s been refining the technology needed to turn its vision of a satellite-based internet service into a reality.
FAA Gives Boeing’s Project the Green Light
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently approved Boeing’s request to launch low Earth orbit satellites for its internet service project. In November 2021, Boeing announced that it received approval from the FAA.
With the FAA’s approval, Boeing has six years to deploy half of its low Earth satellites. For the project, Boeing plans to deploy a total of 147 satellites. All of the satellites will be small, and they’ll travel in an orbit that’s close to Earth. The FAA, however, placed a six-year deadline on half of these satellites. Boeing must deploy half of its 147 planned satellites into low Earth orbit by the end of this period.
Assuming it’s able to deploy half of its low Earth orbit satellites within the six-year period, Boeing will have an additional nine years to deploy the other half of its satellites.
How Low Earth Orbit Satellites Provide Internet Service
Boeing isn’t the only company that’s developing an internet service with low Earth orbit satellites. Other companies with similar projects include Amazon, SpaceX, OneWeb and Samsung.
Low Earth orbit satellites are designed by their location. They are specifically close to the Earth. As a result, data doesn’t have to travel as far to reach customers. At the same time, keeping the satellites in low Earth orbit minimizes the risk of impact with other, higher-orbiting satellites.