Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Facebook is creating an internet satellite

July 23, 2018

The company has confirmed it intends to launch its satellite in early 2019.

Some background: Last month, Facebook announced the end of its effort to develop Aquila, an autonomous drone that provides internet access.

The news: According to e-mails obtained by Wired from the Federal Communications Commission and a confirmation from the company, Facebook has shifted its focus to space. It’s now developing the Athena satellite for launch next year. It’s intended to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world.”

Why it matters: This puts Facebook in with a group of tech companies developing internet satellites, including SpaceX, Boeing, and OneWeb, a business backed by Softbank. Private companies like SpaceX (and its new Block 5 rockets) are providing increased access to satellite launches, making space-based internet a more feasible option. These companies are banking on space, rather than fiber-optic cables, being the key to providing a connection to hard-to-reach areas.

This story first appeared in our daily tech newsletter, The Download. Sign up here.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

How do strong muscles keep your brain healthy?

There’s a robust molecular language being spoken between your muscles and your brain.

The 1,000 Chinese SpaceX engineers who never existed

LinkedIn users are being scammed of millions of dollars by fake connections posing as graduates of prestigious universities and employees at top tech companies.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.