Posts Tagged ‘africa’

Facebook, Ka-band and Africa

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Using state of the art satellite technology, Eutelsat and Facebook will each deploy Internet services designed to relieve pent-up demand for connectivity from the many users in Africa beyond range of fixed and mobile terrestrial networks. Satellite networks are well suited to economically connecting people in low to medium density population areas and the high throughput satellite architecture of AMOS-6 is expected to contribute to additional gains in cost efficiency.

That quote is not from a press release issued in 1999. It’s from Eutelsat’s announcement of a partnership with Facebook on 5 October 2015, leasing Ka-band capacity on Spacecom’s forthcoming spacecraft. In 1999, satellite was seen as the “leapfrog” technology, intended to bypass old wireline or tower-based schemes to get the Internet out to the people of Africa. Although “good for data” Ka-band payloads were not widely available back then, the same disadvantages are still lingering:

  1. the high cost of space segment
  2. customer premises equipment is not cheap
  3. latency will always be an issue

Unless Facebook dollars subsidize the first two costs, we’ll only need to deal with physics.

The RF signal to and from the geosynchronous spacecraft will always require a 1/4-second to complete, then add a little bit of time to get the content, then another 1/4-second to serve it up. We’re not getting into video or any rich media — just the basics. Fine. People without any connection will be happy with whatever they get. High-throughput or not, you get what’s allocated to you.

Let’s consider reliability. First, there’s the issue of a reliable electric supply. Do we have enough of that in Sub-Saharan Africa? Next, there’s the signal itself. Even with a good link budget, and backing-off on the data rate a bit, you’re dealing with a considerable amount of rainy conditions for wider areas, so you can expect the signal to fade or experience complete outages during the rainy season.

Considering satcom’s promise hasn’t been kept for so many years, true “leapfrogging” is happening everywhere. In Rwanda, for example, 4G LTE is being built out and it kills any comparison to satcom alternatives using geo satellites. Using LEOs from O3b Networks works well, but somebody stills has to make the economics work.

So good luck to to Facebook and their internet.org effort.

African Space Research Program

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

The African Space Research Program deserves your support! What they write about themselves:

Welcome to the African Space Research Program This is an association located in Uganda with a core representation in Dallas/Ft which handles all international matters outside Africa. Our association has over seventy thousand members; it is a non profit association dedicated towards conducting space science basing on African soils. In this association we can manufacture high flying aircrafts, satellites, and space craft to enable the African Space Research Program (ASRP) one day we will conduct research at the furthest points of our solar system & galaxy to say!

As of now we’re manufacturing two projects, one an aircraft that we will use to scan meteoroids and asteroids closest to earth’s orbit, so will the same aircraft help us collect data to prepare our next project known as the Dynacraft. the second is a Space Craft heading to the skies with a life, a mice on board to test the competence of ASRP deploying a human in orbit

At the same time, in our association we’re training pilots & astronauts, our association is not certified to license pilots, so after our training they will have to go to a certified pilot school, test & acquire a flying license. For our astronauts, we will certify them our selves, since we’re the first association to manufacture space crafts in Africa, within our students we can tell who is ready to thrust beyond the skies!

Objective:
Our main objective is finding life in our solar system, & neighboring solar systems.
This isn’t about money, it is about human-kind life & dignity, this is about Africa joining the struggle of finding Earth-like planets, this is about setting a core base foundation for our future generations to come.
We will deploy projects in our solar neighborhood, projects we don’t expect to return back to Earth in our generation, however our descendants will benefit from such projects because they will return back in their time, and this is the best gift folks we can give our future generations.

May God Bless Africa; May God Bless Uganda

Came across this story in VOA, which I found very interesting…

Lawrence Okello could tell that something unusual was going on. But when he first ventured over to his neighbor’s backyard in Kampala, Uganda, he could hardly believe his eyes.

“I was so shocked. I couldn’t believe that in Uganda, we can have a kind of achievement so impressive,” he said.

Okello’s neighbor, Chris Nsamba, is head of the African Space Research Program, an organization he founded in 2009 after studying astronomy in the United States. But armed with nothing more than a team of student volunteers, and working from his mother’s backyard, the 28-year-old Nsamba has set out to build and launch Uganda’s first space observer.

Chris Nsamba and his team work on their projects in his mother’s backyard. (Photo: African Space Research Program)
Chris Nsamba and his team work on their projects in his mother’s backyard. (Photo: African Space Research Program)
Neighbors like Okello have been eagerly watching the probe take shape.

“There is a small project I saw him making. He called it a space observer,” he said. “I heard him saying it’s going to capture a picture of Uganda from space. He showed me that it’s going to work. I saw it responding to the GPS. They are just preparing to launch it, but I know it will fly. It will fly.”

About the size and shape of a beach ball, the probe is equipped with solar panels and a camera. On its maiden voyage, Nsamba plans to send it up with a passenger as well – a live rat.

“The reason why we called it observer is because it has a camera on it, so it can take pictures and videos, and it can send live data back to our control center. So it can observe space,” he said. “Two, we are using it to check out our skills of keeping something alive in space.”

We hope we can count on you for your support! PayPay them.

PAYPAL
For those in Uganda, Mtn Mobile Money Number
0783292978 for donations
mtnmobmone.jpg


Africa’s Digital Future: DTH Satellite

Friday, June 10th, 2011


Nice pitch from SES Astra’s Christoph Limmer in Balancing Act on the digital transition in Africa. Timed to coincide with a recent deal in Kenya, and the SatCom Africa 2011 show in J-burg, the points made are typical and correct, including…

According to Christoph Limmer, requests for information on satellite TV are flooding in. “Quite often we get asked if satellite can really reach more homes than other infrastructures like cable or terrestrial. The answer simply, is yes. Unlike DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) or cable which are ground based infrastructures and normally roll-out in certain areas only; satellite has no limitations in achieving 100% population reach.” Digging cable is costly and time consuming and rolling out DTT network infrastructure is facing similar challenges.

However, one must first assume there is electrical power availability and somebody to pay for the service. Advertiser-supported content needs an audience that’s able to pay for their products/services. What I think needs to happen is the satellite operators take the hit and get the service going and wait for the market to catch up.

The developing world needs our help. Get on with it!