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A satellite internet constellation—sometimes referred to as a megaconstellation[1] —is a large constellation of artificial satellites orbiting in low-Earth orbit (LEO), working together to provide high-throughput satellite (HTS) communication to facilitate low-latency broadband internet service to various business and individual nodes on the surface of Earth.[2]

More than 18,000 new satellites have been proposed to be launched and placed in LEO orbits by 2025.[2] This is more than ten times as many satellites as the sum of all active satellites in space as of March 2018.

While more-limited satellite internet services have been available through geosynchronous commsats orbiting in the Clarke Belt for years, these have been of quite limited bandwidth (not broadband), high-latency, and provided at such a relatively high price that demand for the services offered has been quite low.[3][4][5]

Satellite internet constellations have been proposed and under development since 2014. Internet sat constellations are planned by OneWeb (constellation),[6][7]SpaceX (Starlink),[8][9]Samsung, Boeing, and China (Hongwan),[2] among others.


  1. ^ Henry, Caleb (25 June 2019). "Megaconstellation ventures cautious about deployment milestones". SpaceNews. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "NSR Reports China's Ambitious Constellation of 300 Small Satellites in LEO". SatNews. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018. The most visible or at least, the most talked about LEO contenders stem from the U.S. and Canada, numbering at least 11 with planned satellites to be deployed at around 18,000.
  3. ^ Brodkin, Jon (15 February 2013). "Satellite Internet faster than advertised, but latency still awful". Ars Technica. Retrieved 24 March 2018. Satellite latency is 638ms, 20 times higher than terrestrial broadband.
  4. ^ "Latency- why is it a big deal for Satellite Internet?". VSAT Systems. 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  5. ^ "What is the difference between terrestrial (land based) Internet and satellite Internet service?". Network Innovation Associates. 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  6. ^ Boucher, Marc (3 June 2014). "Will Google Build a Satellite Constellation?". SpaceRef Business. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  7. ^ Winkler, Rolfe; Pasztor, Andy (11 July 2014). "Elon Musk's Next Mission: Internet Satellites SpaceX, Tesla Founder Explores Venture to Make Lighter, Cheaper Satellites". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  8. ^ Petersen, Melody (16 January 2015). "Elon Musk and Richard Branson invest in satellite-Internet ventures". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  9. ^ Brodkin, Jon (4 October 2017). "SpaceX and OneWeb broadband satellites raise fears about space debris". Ars Technica. Retrieved 7 October 2017.