StemINSPIRE

Young IISC Graduate Set To Launch Satellites to Provide High Speed Internet To Rural Areas

Just a few years ago, it would have been impossible to contemplate satellites beaming internet services to earth. The futuristic concept is set to become reality as close as 2018. High tech companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Beezo’s Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, OneWeb, Google Inc. and Boeing are racing to launch their satellites into low orbit; satellites which will beam high speed internet to the world.

Just a few years ago, it would have been impossible to contemplate satellites beaming internet services to earth. The futuristic concept is set to become reality as close as 2018. High tech companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Beezo’s Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, OneWeb, Google Inc. and Boeing are racing to launch their satellites into low orbit; satellites which will beam high speed internet to the world.

And here’s the amazing part- giving these colossal tech giants a run for their money is a petite, soft-spoken, affable girl from a relatively unknown, small town of India. Meet Neha Satak, who has done her Master’s in Aeronautical Engineering from IISC, Bangalore.

At 4 feet, 11 inches, Neha Satak from Beawar in Rajasthan, is a far cry from the regular image of a hard-nosed space entrepreneur.  Yet, Neha dreams of delivering high speed internet services from the cosmic beyond, to urban and rural areas not just in India, but the entire Indian Subcontinent covering countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Indonesia, along with Mexico, Middle East countries, African countries and other developing nations that lag behind the developed world in access to high speed Internet.

And it is not an ideal dream or just a passing fancy of a star struck youngster. Neha, along with her business partner, Prasad HL Bhat, have their macro and micro basics sorted out, and are all set to see their dreams come to fruition, starting from 2018.

Neha and Prasad have launched a dedicated space technology start-up in Bengaluru and have named it Astrome Technologies. They plan to roll out their internet services in 2018.

Initially, they plan to launch their satellites in batches of 10, and ultimately aim to launch 150 satellites into space by 2020, providing high-speed affordable internet to remote locations across the world.

The first satellite will be unveiled to the public as early as December, 2017. The company plans to provide internet with speeds in the range of 50-400 Mbps.

Internet from space is an exciting proposition, since it can provide internet at the same speeds to a person sitting in a tiny Himalayan village or in densely forested regions as it can to a person based in a metro city.

All that one needs to avail the benefits of the internet from space is a dish antenna on their rooftop and a set-top box inside their premises and they’re good to go.

As the two young partners say, “Rural and semi-urban areas still lack Internet connectivity. This technology can change all that. It can help businesses located in far-flung areas prosper.”

The company plans to launch a total of 150 micro-satellites weighing 120 kg each, which will orbit the earth, and beam internet down from the heavens above in turns, thus forming a relay network in space.

Astrome Technologies has raised funding from IISC as well as from angel investors, and is in time to meet their launch deadlines. Neha’s success proves that with sound education in STEM, a passion to succeed and unlimited determination, one can achieve even the most futuristic of dreams.