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What's up there, and who pays for that?

Satellites and drones bring communications and imaging coverage
Satellites and drones bring communications and imaging coverage

The political angle on this story is about who pays for satellites and services. Trending is toward commercial companies, and yet there are government policies looking out for rural citizens too.

If you are as obsessed as CNN about finding the remains of the missing Malaysian 777, you can’t help but notice the number of nations that have satellites in space.

“Satellite images gleaned from the French, Chinese, and Thailand have all made headlines in recent days for potentially showing debris in the search area for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.”

According to that same ABC News report there about 100 Earth observation and 'remote sensing' satellites in orbit owned by 30 nations.

On a different note, people living in rural areas that don’t presently have WiFi could be getting equipped soon via solar powered drone aircraft. Imagine that, WiFi via aircraft like circling buzzards. You won’t see them, but they’ll be up there or my coffee ain’t Starbucks.

The new WiFi connections could be brought to you by Facebook or Google, depending on which birds take to the sky.

“Facebook’s solar-powered planes will provide Wi-Fi to the ‘burbs

Facebook has big plans for connecting remote areas, too.
by Casey Johnston - Mar 28 2014, 11:02am EDT

Facebook revealed a new research lab on Thursday that will develop "aerospace and communication technologies" to bring Internet access to areas that have not yet been networked. One of the Connectivity Lab's projects includes a plane that can remain in the air for months at a time, broadcasting Wi-Fi to regions below.

The plane technology comes from Ascenta, a UK company that specializes in high-altitude long-range aircraft. On Thursday, Facebook announced its acquisition of the company for $20 million. The planes would be solar-powered and would fly over suburban areas at an altitude of 20 kilometers, above where commercial airlines fly.

For more remote areas, like mountain ranges, Facebook and Connectivity Labs hope to put up satellites that not only cover the area with network access but talk between each other via free-space optical communication using infrared laser beams.”

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