The US military is interested in direct connection of smartphones to satellites

The race between companies for a system of direct connection of smartphones to satellites interested the Pentagon. The military plans to purchase these services from commercial operators this spring. They also plan to review the strategy of using geostationary and low-orbit satellites.

Direct connection of the smartphone to the satellite. Source: Apple

Clare Grason, head of the Pentagon’s commercial satellite communications office (CSCO), said that the US military was interested in developing technology for direct communication between mobile devices and satellites.

The race for the opportunity to connect a smartphone to a satellite directly without installing additional antennas like Starlink has been going on for almost a year. Companies such as Iridium, Lynk Global, AST SpaceMobile, Samsung, Globalstar and others take part in them.

So far, the list of services that these companies provide to their customers via satellite is very limited. But CSCO already sees a future opportunity for soldiers to get significantly more compact and multifunctional means of communication than those currently in use. To do this, the first contracts on access to the devices will be signed this spring, which will be launched only at the end of the year.

Low-orbit and geostationary satellites

A direct connection between a smartphone and a satellite will mean one important change in the Pentagon’s space communications policy. Before that, the US military relied on powerful satellites in high geostationary orbit. Their bandwidth was low, but they were in the access zone all the time.

Now the troops have access to a large number of low-orbit satellites that provide much better data transmission capabilities. However, according to Grason, this does not mean that the Pentagon will completely abandon geostationary satellites in their favor.

As before, the US armed forces will deploy communications satellites in geostationary orbits on their own. And a significant amount of traffic, primarily in the most important operations, will go through them.

The purchase of services from commercial operators is intended to cover the need for secondary tasks, in which the US military always lacks its own capacities. At the same time, the Pentagon is going to completely abandon the practice of purchasing certain volumes of traffic. It will switch to contracts that will provide for the provision of a certain package of services for a long time.

According to

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