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February 21, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:50pm

NEWS IN BRIEF: TELEDESIC

By CBR Staff Writer

Teledesic Corp, the $9bn flight of fancy of Bill Gates and Craig McCaw to create a blanket mobile high-bandwidth voice, video and computer communications network by putting up so many satellites that they blot out the sun and create a permanent nerds’ winter, may let some sunshine through after all. According to the Wall Street Journal, Teledesic is exploring a scaled-back design that would enable the communications system to start operating with only a third of the planned satellites in orbit. The original plan called for operating 840 satellites in low earth orbit, a number about 12 times greater than any other proposed satellite system of any type, but now the system may start operating with 288 satellites in 12 orbital planes around the Earth, with 24 satellites in each ring. The system is expected to be operational in about 2002… oh and no, the satellites wouldn’t really blot out the sun, but you know what we mean.

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