Paul Selva: LEO Satellites Could Provide Cheaper Broadband Services

Jeff Brody

Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Brookings Institute event that the efforts to miniaturize satellites are helping to reduce costs in constructing and deploying large constellations, C4ISRnet reported Thursday. Selva noted that this may result in broadband services hosted by low-Earth orbit satellites that are cheaper compared to fiber-optic networks.

“But it’s not just miniaturization. It’s integration, so the capacity to make a small satellite that will do multiple things,” he said. “Similarly, if you want to specialize that same satellite, the integration of sensors into storage and transmission methodologies that allow you to build a much more elegant sensor on a smaller platform that demands less power.”

The Department of Defense intends to deploy LEO constellations to support military communications and missile warning operations. Previously, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency launched a program called Blackjack aiming to launch 20 smallsats carrying a range of DoD payloads as part of a commercial constellation.

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