Last year, Avealto introduced INSIGHTS, a regular exploration combining the decades of experience their executives have as space pioneers with the history, trends, and potential of Avealto to positively disrupt the commercial space satellite market. These INSIGHTS come in both newsletter and podcast form.
For issue one of Avealto’s INSIGHTS, it made sense that the first podcast episode featured both Tom Olson, Avealto’s Business Development Chief, and myself, Avealto’s Founder & CEO. Tom and I have been friends since 2004 and colleagues since 2012. Avealto INSIGHTS Podcast host, Matt Bauer, interviewed us about the history and technology of the commercial satellite services sector, as well as the exciting future of High Altitude Platforms (HAPs). You can read issue one of the newsletter here and listen to the full podcast episode here, but below are some of the notable topics we discussed.
GEOSat versus LEOSat versus HAPs
Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk are pioneering satellite constellations in an attempt to establish global broadband solutions. As Tom says during the interview: “It may be planet wide, but it’s only about an inch deep.” Meaning, it will be difficult to provide the level of service people in developed countries expect from their providers. It will also be impossible to use GEOSats and LEOSats to service underserved regions of the planet.
Telecommunications satellites have provided exceptional service to the world, but it can be incredibly costly when you factor in the launch and replacement costs necessary to operate satellites. While it will be exciting to see how telecom satellites continue to enhance our lives, our biggest focus at Avealto has been developing lower cost and higher quality satellites that allow us to focus on key markets and key populations. There are currently 3 billion people in the world that don’t have adequate access to the internet, so establishing cheaper alternatives to satellites is the only way to serve more people. And this will be life-changing.
Our High Altitude Platforms (HAPs) are lower in cost than GEOSats and LEOSats and can provide larger bandwidth and higher quality since they’re lower to the ground. Just like fiber replaced telecom technologies and set the standard for connection, HAPs will be a technology that, when used in the appropriate place, will usher in a new future for countries across the world.
This was once thought impossible, but the technology is finally here. Batteries and solar panels are more lightweight and powerful than ever before, and fabric used to hold helium, for example, is more affordable than it’s ever been. What was once an idea I had in 1993 is now possible in 2021. In fact, Avealto already completed its feasibility testing related to High Altitude Platform vehicles and we’re now in the final stages of development for our first-generation full-size commercial Concept demonstrator.
One market that Avealto is set to disrupt is the maritime sector. Most large cargo ships and pleasure yachts already have existing satellite terminals for communication, but the cost is high. Our HAPs can provide service that’s not only better quality, but will be available at a lower cost. The same is true for mobile backhaul. Satellites are too expensive, so our HAPs will also open up a new market in this area.
But the one sector I am the most passionate about is how HAPs can enhance economic development. In the Western world, we already know and expect great internet service, but for someone in a third-world country, access to service will change their lives in exceptional ways. They will be able to apply for jobs, gain access to virtual healthcare services, market their businesses to increase revenue, communicate with their family, and even just have knowledge of what’s going on in the rest of the world more easily and accurately than ever before.
Space is hard; it’s not as easy as some people may think it is. There’s not only great business opportunities in space that we’re excited to capitalize on, but it’s also bringing value to the global population. I’m excited what this future will look like once we get our HAPs operational.