Communications satellites

Live from the moon in HD

By Jon Kelvey

July 1, 2023

NASA will soon pick a pool of vendors to help it achieve an ambitious plan: Delivering high-definition video of astronauts on the moon to the public and a torrent of scientific information to scientists. Jon Kelvey tells the story.

Why the Viasat hack still echoes

By Andrea Valentino

November 1, 2022

Satcom companies, perhaps for good reason, rely on a complex web of suppliers and subcontractors to deliver us our internet connections and television programming. That can make it hard to enforce sound cyber practices across an entire network. And when an attack does occur, it can take months or longer to determine how it unfolded. Can anything be done? Andrea Valentino went looking for answers.

Dodging debris

By Paul Marks

July 1, 2021

When each of the thousands of satellites in tomorrow’s immense orbital internet swarms fall back to Earth, as they inevitably must, some of the debris might not burn up entirely before reaching the altitudes plied by airlines and militaries. Space safety engineers tell Paul Marks that a serious collision risk is brewing — and a vigorous search for solutions is necessary, right now.

Test time for optical comms

By Debra Werner

February 1, 2021

Fiber might not have reached your neighborhood, but anyone who does business in space will need a wireless version in the cosmic neighborhood, and soon. After decades of experimentation, 2021 could become the long-sought pivotal year for optical communications in space, notwithstanding an early setback. Debra Werner tells the story.

Megaconstellations, mega trouble

By Adam Hadhazy

February 28, 2020

Sending hundreds or thousands of satellites into low-Earth orbit looked like a harmless and lucrative way to target broadband internet services to societies that lack them. Then came the first launches by megaconstellation pioneer SpaceX. Adam Hadhazy assesses the surprising collateral damage to astronomy and what might be done about it.