The space startup, Aquarian Space aims to launch a lunar satellite by 2024 which will provide high-speed internet at the moon. The company has raised $650,000 seed money. The funding was from Draper Associates as the space company goes ahead with its high-speed internet goals. It will be fast enough to stream a 4K video on the moon.
The startup’s vision is to create what it calls Solnet, built on “commercial high data rate, high-speed delivery satellite networks” with speeds of 100 megabits per second, Aquarian said in a statement. (That’s far faster than average Internet speeds Americans enjoy, with SlashGear recently reporting a typical U.S. resident surfs at less than 30.)
“In 2021 there were 13 landers, orbiters, and rovers on and around the moon,” Kelly Larson, CEO of Aquarian Space, said in the statement. “By 2030, we will have around 200, creating a multibillion-dollar lunar economy. But this can’t happen without solid, reliable Earth-to-moon communications.” Aquarian Space is performing technical reviews with several companies participating in NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, the company said, along with other companies in the United States and internationally targeting moon missions.
Humans on moon
CLPS will see several payloads, landers, and other scientific equipment alight on the moon later in the 2020s in support of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to put humans on the moon sometime this decade. Aquarian’s hope is to bring “end-to-end data and communication services by 2024” with the various companies it is interacting with, although specifics were not released beyond saying that customers will not need to change their design to accommodate Aquarian’s technology.
Aquarian eventually plans to launch a space-based relay data service called Solnet but has released few technical details so far such as what sorts of satellites it intends to use, or how it will carry these satellites to space. Besides high-speed Internet, Aquarian says it plans to include space situation awareness for aspects including looking at space debris, tracking space weather, and providing scientific information from the moon and from Mars.
Currently, NASA says LunaNet, their network for the Moon, “is the first step for a Solar system internet”. The system was developed for the Artemis missions. NASA created LunaNet to end disruptions and delays in communications and data transfer in space. Missions in space today depend on pre-scheduled links with space satellites or ground-based antennas, making communications and data transfer limited. LunaNet is designed to provide sustainable communications, navigation, weather monitoring, and will also be used for scientific purposes.