The UK Space Agency announced Friday that it will collaborate with space tech companies Clyde Space and Outernet on the latter's ambitious plan to provide worldwide space-based Internet access.
"A partnership with the UK Space Agency is a very exciting step for Outernet," the company's CEO, Syed Karim, said in the news release. "It not only demonstrates a meeting of the minds on the importance of information access, but shows that there can be very concrete economic windfalls from doing enormous good in the world."
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British satellite manufacturer Clyde Space will work with its two new partners to supply the palm-sized CubeSats that will live in low-Earth orbit, beaming data to handheld devices on the ground. The plan is to populate space with enough of them to provide super-cheap Internet access to places where wires and terrestrial wireless can't reach — or where oppressive governments won't allow it.
The satellites themselves aren't finalized, and the project is still in a nascent stage, but working with major space agencies will help the efforts get underway and perform critical testing. Chicago-based Outernet hopes to have 24 satellites up by 2016 in order to demonstrate the system. Be sure to check in along the way for updates on this globe-spanning project.