Avealto INSIGHTS is an exploration of the telecoms and commercial space satellite market. I recently published a blog highlighting episode one of our podcast and newsletter — which you can find here — where I shared my thoughts on the history and technology of commercial satellite services. This blog will cover episode two of INSIGHTS, where host Matt Bauer and myself, Avealto’s Founder & CEO, discuss the evolution and future of the commercial space industry. 

You can read issue two or listen to the full podcast episode, or you can find a summary of some of the topics we covered during our conversation below. 

The beginnings

At the beginning of the episode, Matt Bauer asked me about some of my very first ventures in telecoms and space commercialization. In the mid-1980s, I founded Mid-Atlantic Telecom just a few weeks before Ma Bell and AT&T were broken up by Judge Harold H. Greene. Ma Bell and AT&T had been holding a monopoly in the U.S. for a long time, and it had gotten to a point where they were charging too much for their services. New technologies, processes, and systems were coming out and they weren’t keeping up, so there was an opportunity for more creative entrepreneurs to step in and provide equal — and, arguably, higher-quality — service at a lower cost.

During this time, I also co-founded the International Space University because I was interested in the development of space and thought that mankind had all of their eggs in one basket — Earth. I not only wanted to pursue the idea of having a portion of humanity living outside of Earth, but it also itched my desire to explore.

Later, in 1999, I founded MirCorp to privatize the Russian-owned space station, MIR. The Russian government could no longer afford to fund the MIR Station, so my goal was to save it because it was a useful tool in the peaceful exploration and development of space. That vision never came to fruition, because the U.S. government illegally intervened and was able to use Russia’s economic weakness to coerce the Russian Space Agency to order the deorbit MIR Station into the Pacific Ocean while MirCorp still held a lease on it. I will continue to find ways to explore and commercialize space for the betterment of humanity.

HAPs as a solution for the world’s growing needs

High altitude platform vehicles fulfill a niche in the telecoms market that cannot be filled by any other technology. Those who can afford satellite service can get it almost anywhere in the world, yet in some cases there may be high latency or a delay in service. Satellite telecom is expensive and out of reach for many people in the world. HAPs provide a way to provide low-cost communications in any area of the world. 

HAPs will also have a significant impact in the maritime sector. Here are some examples of what my high altitude platforms could achieve:

  • Cargo vessels need exceptional data to keep their crew, who want access to entertainment and the ability to call home without delay in service. Additionally, HAPs can also allow operators to track the state of their motors and other equipment on board. Say, for example, that a cargo ship is carrying temperature-sensitive materials. They can monitor the temperatures inside the containers through our HAPs and keep them as cold or warm as necessary.
  • Fishing boats will also benefit from HAPs, as they need data to research weather conditions and fish locations. Better service also enhances their security.

Space commercialization 

Elon Musk and SpaceX, as well as other rocket launch companies, have reduced the cost of launching things into space. Many activities in space are now possible due to these lower costs. Companies are now conducting various space-related activities on a solely commercial basis, which presents an exciting opportunity. This is the first step in giving mankind the potential to live outside of the Earth and use space as a resource. 

I am thrilled that I am finally seeing all of this come to fruition, just as I am thrilled that Avealto continues to get that much closer to manufacturing our final prototype for our high altitude platform vehicles. It’s exciting to see just how much telecoms and space exploration has evolved over the past few decades, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.