Outernet: Amazing Infographic*


The only reason for the asterisk is that there were a few errors that caused some misunderstanding. We have corrected those errors in text below the image. Other than that, great work - kudos to the author!

1. Outernet will always be free and available to the entire planet, though the near-term goal is not to offer universal web access. Instead, we are offering universal information access. It just happens to be that the content we distribute originates on the web.

2. Although we are currently designing a purpose-built nano-satellite constellation, we will also be leveraging existing space assets. The high-speed service will always come from geostationary satellites because the cost per global megabyte is just way lower than any alternative means of distributing digital content globally.

3. Yes, we will be uplinking to satellites through existing commercial teleports. Eventually, we will have our own ground stations. The antennae that users will need to receive the mobile information will be much smaller than what is required for the high-speed service. Think of a small FM radio antenna attached to either a wifi router or plugged directly into a smartphone.

4. We don't know where that $12BN figure came from. We could easily deploy our constellation for 1/1000 of that cost. $12M, *not* $12BN. In order to keep launch costs to a minimum, we are targeting 10cm x 10cm x 10cm satellites. However, we are finding it may actually be less expensive to go with a slightly larger design, as off-the-shelf components can be used. The target price of each satellite is $100,000, and then another $100,000 per launch, which will increase if we choose to move to a larger satellite. With an initial constellation between 16 and 25 satellites, well, that's pretty simple arithmetic.  At most, the satellites will be 30cm x 10cm x 10cm. The eventual aim of the project is absolutely to offer an additional two-way service (there will always be value in broadcast data), but that vision is many years away.

6. Yes, space starts around 100 miles up. But that's not where the nano-satellites would be. Our constellation is modeled on an altitude of roughly 500km.

7. Peter Whitehead is not the president of MDIF. As a matter of fact, that role does not exist. Harlan Mandel is MDIF's CEO.

8. Our initial pathfinder mission will likely go up in later spring of 2015. We are still determining whether it makes sense to have two orbital planes with 8 satellites, or 4 planes with 6 in each. If it's the former, it's feasible that the nano-satellite constellation could be deployed by the end of 2015/early 2016--depending on ride-share availability.

9. Outernet is not about internet connectivity. It's about information access.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://blog.outernet.is/2014/07/amazing-infographic.html