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I am now running my annual July fund-raising campaign to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Behind the Black. For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. These companies practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.


Thus, I must have your direct support to keep this webpage alive. Not only does the money pay the bills, it gives me the freedom to speak honestly about science and culture, instead of being forced to write it as others demand.


Please consider donating by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below.


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You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

Inmarsat to launch new low orbit communications satellite constellation

Capitalism in space: Inmarsat announced yesterday that it plans to launch a 150 satellite constellation in low Earth orbit to supplement and improve its already orbiting communications satellites in high geosynchronous orbit.

The company is investing $100 million over the next five years to lay the groundwork for deploying 150-175 LEO spacecraft.

They aim to join satellites Inmarsat has in geostationary and highly elliptical orbits from 2026. Inmarsat, which currently operates 14 satellites, is also on track to add five new GEO and two HEO spacecraft to its network over the next five years.

Its incoming multi-orbit constellation, called Orchestra, seeks to improve latency, network speeds and resiliency for communications services across its core maritime, aviation, government and enterprise markets.

This new constellation is also an effort by Inmarsat to keep its communications product competitive against the newer constellations being launched by SpaceX (Starlink) and OneWeb.

For the space launch industry, this just means more launches, more demand for rockets, and more money to be made.

Note that Inmarsat’s approach here is the correct way to respond to competition. Rather than try to squelch your competitors using government regulation, as Viasat is attempting, Inmarsat is instead up its game, improving its product, and thus matching the challenge its competitors are offering it.

One last question: Will this new constellation, set to be operational by ’26, get there before Amazon’s long promised Kuiper constellation? Right now I’m willing to bet that it will, considering how slow Amazon has been in developing that system.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Andi

    Small edit in first sentence: “to supplement and improve its already-orbiting communications satellites”

  • Jay

    I always wondered what would happen to the satellite phone market once Starlink or Oneweb is in full use. In some Pacific islands, the only way to communicate with them, besides ham radio, is with a satellite phone. It has been four years, but some of the rates for an Iridium sat phone was about a buck a minute and the data rates were higher. Also on those islands, the internet is always down.
    So, you get Starkink or one of the others, get a “Magic Jack” and the cost drops. Better connections to remote areas of the Earth.

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