Nasa plans 5G comms 'nanosats'

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Nasa is developing satellites weighing as little as 5kg for a future global telecoms network..

The so-called 'nanosats' would be used to set up a fifth-generation network hosted in low Earth orbit capable of carrying IP traffic for phones, wireless and video-on-demand services around the world.

The satellites would be set up over areas of high demand in huge clusters, or "constellations", and provide a global network that would provide VoIP, video, data and wireless communications channels.

"Nasa wants to work with companies to develop a new economy in space," said Nasa Ames Center director S. Pete Worden.

The agency has partnered with Californian nanotechnology firm Machine-to-Machine Intelligence to develop a production line capability for the nanosats. They will weigh between 5kg and 50kg and would be mass launched where needed.

"The 'constellation' will provide a robust, global, space-based, high-speed network for communication, data storage and Earth observations," said Geoff Brown, chief executive at Machine-to-Machine Intelligence.

"Nano-satellites take advantage of the significant technological advances in microelectronics and will be produced using low-cost, mass-production techniques."
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