Musk, Mittal’s one small step in space is one giant leap of faith

Starlink and OneWeb’s satellite broadband holds promise, but beating telcos reach will be a moonshot 


If sky's the limit, trust mavericks to reach for outer space! Elon Musk is one such dreampreneur who wants to transport humans in rockets between continents and to colonise Mars, and, hence, referred to as a ‘futurist’ and (unkindly) ‘insane’. While some of his plans are plain audacious, others seem realistic.

One of his pet projects is to provide internet connectivity through a mega constellation of miniature satellites, which will float in the lower earth orbit (LEO). Interestingly, joining Musk in the LEO-satellite race is India’s leading telecom czar Sunil Mittal. While Mittal runs the world’s second-largest terrestrial mobile service through Bharti Airtel, he has now set sights on space communication, albeit in his personal capacity. This Musk-Mittal’s internet-from-space odyssey seems fantastical, but it warrants a dekko because they are planning this for the second-most populated country on planet earth.

Space tech has come a long way from 1945 when Arthur Clarke believed that just three satellites could meet the world's growing communication needs. Instead, we are now living with 2,666 satellites, of which 1,918 are in the LEO, as per the Union of Concerned Scientists, the US-based science advocacy group.

LEO occupies the space at an altitude between 500


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