Simple text message is today the most common thing that has nothing to do with the latest developments in communication technology. However, Lynk, a fairly young company, has fundamentally changed the above statement, it was the first to send a text message from a satellite in Earth orbit directly to an ordinary mobile phone on the surface of the Earth. And it turns out that the implementation of such simple, at first glance, technologies is quite a big problem.
Modern telecommunications, one way or another, rely on artificial satellites. It is through satellites that information is transmitted over long distances before it is returned back to Earth. However, there had never been a single case in history where a satellite could exchange data directly with a mobile phone. This capability has been implemented in Lynk’s new technology called cell-tower-in-space, which eliminates the need to deploy cell tower networks on Earth, which are expensive in themselves and require periodic maintenance.
This, in turn, will provide mobile coverage in hard-to-reach and sparsely populated areas where the traditional approach is financially impractical.
Satellite telephones had previously been used for similar purposes, but satellite telephony had been, and was, very expensive, both in terms of equipment and subscriber service costs.
Lynk’s radio and transmission equipment provides data transmission at frequencies and cellular network standards up to 480 kilometers (300 miles), enough to enable communication between satellites in orbit and mobile phones on the Earth’s surface. However, when a mobile phone is within normal coverage, it works with ground cell towers, but as soon as a subscriber gets into a “white spot”, his or her phone discreetly switches to work with the “constellation” of Lynk satellites. Now the company has four satellites in orbit, which were launched with an interval of six months. This, of course, is not enough to cover all the “white spots” of cellular coverage on Earth, but it is enough to demonstrate the practical capabilities of this technology.
Currently, Lynk, formerly known as Ubiquitilink, has over thirty potential customers interested in the new technology. However, the company still has a long way to go from the first demonstration of capabilities to a fully operational project involving the deployment of an entire network of satellites. But with SpaceX already demonstrating a way to reduce the cost of deploying a network of satellites in low orbit as part of the Starlink project, Lynk’s plans may not be realized in the distant future.