Wholesale satellite network ‘in service from 2025’, says Rivada
Rivada Space Networks has ordered 300 satellites at a cost of US$2.4 billion, to go into orbit between 2025 and 2028.
The project calls for a wholesale network of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites aimed at telecoms, enterprise, maritime, energy and government services users.
Declan Ganley, executive chairman of Rivada Space Networks (RSN), said the aim was to build an open access wireless market platform that will allow it to “offer a network with unprecedented flexibility to users around the world”.
He said: “With this contract, Rivada is one step closer to launching a global network dedicated to the wholesale sale of connectivity and capacity at market rates, making truly global connectivity-as-a-service a reality.”
Five years ago Ganley’s Rivada Networks, which owns RSN, failed in two significant bids for wholesale wireless networks – one to build a 4G network for rural Mexico and the other to build an emergency services network for the US.
Back in space, RSN has scaled down its original plans, which called for 600 LEO satellites, costing €4 billion, including launch costs. The $2.4 billion quoted by Terran Orbital, which will build the 300 laser-connected satellites, does not include launch costs.
RSN said its “space-based data network” will be “transformative”, providing “fibre-like low latency and gigabit per second data delivery which is ultra-secure and extremely resilient”.
According to the usually well informed Space News, Terran Orbital will be supplying satellites that weigh 500kg each. This, if accurate, means they will be approximately three times the size of OneWeb’s satellites and twice that of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.
RSN said it will offer access to “a secure satellite network with pole-to-pole reach, offering end-to-end latencies similar to or better than terrestrial fibre”. It will use lasers for inter-satellite links “with advanced onboard data routers creating an optical backbone in space to deliver an ultra-secure and highly reliable global data network for business operations”.
RSN has filed an application for radio spectrum on the Ka band with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The company said: “With a contract for manufacturing now in place, deployment will start in 2025, with 300 satellites (288 plus 12 spares) by mid-2026.”
Clemens Kaiser, RSN’s chief program officer, said: “We have the right technology in place to sustainably move RSN from concept to reality and that our chosen satellite manufacturer has the required combination of experience, agility and innovation to deliver these cutting-edge global satellite constellations.”