The pseudo-satellite that could destroy Starlink (vehicles)

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Not to mention the astronomers that would be extra-enraged that all that stuff interfering with their observations was put up into orbit for nothing, in the end.
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INTRO: Musk seems to have the perfect business plan with Starlink. He can offer high-speed internet for a cheap and cheerful priceto anywhere in the world. Need to stream in 4K from the summit of Mount Everest? Starlink can do it. Need a vast amount of internet for your globetrotting cruise ship? Starlink can do it. Want incredibly reliable, super-fast broadband for your home? You guessed it, Starlink can do it. But this satellite-based internet isn’t just a passion project.

Musk’s rockets cost a tiny amount to launch in comparison to his competitors, meaning he can get this service up and running seriously cheaply. It would only take a few million subscribers for him to be raking in billions a year! In fact, this is the cash that is designated to pay for Musk’s upcoming SpaceX Mars missions.

But Airbus is developing a pseudo-satellite that could dramatically undercut Starlink, arguably perform better, and be far more eco-friendly. So, are Starlink and Musk’s dreams of visiting Mars doomed?

Before we dive into Airbus’s fantastic technology, we first need to know what a pseudo-satellite is. As the name suggests, it is something that acts like a satellite but isn’t. This typically takes the form of high-altitude aircraft, such as a solar-powered drone or balloon, that can stay airborne for days or months at a time. As you can imagine, it is a considerable engineering challenge to build something that is rugged, light, and powerful enough to stay aloft for so long.

But Airbus has seemingly cracked the formula with its Zephyr solar drone. This 25-metre-long uncrewed electric plane is powered by a solar array on its long slender wings, alongside an onboard battery for night flying, and can soar twice as high as a commercial plane (at 76,100 feet). Despite this, it is light enough to be launched by three people chucking it into the air! Because it is solar-powered, once the craft flies above the clouds, it can stay airborne indefinitely, as fuel is not an issue. That is how it recently managed to fly for 26 days straight, which seems to be a new endurance record for an uncrewed craft.

The drone didn’t just do nothing while it was up there, though. Apart from testing out the flight, navigation, and power systems, it also beamed down a 5G broadband connection, similar to Starlink’s internet. This begs the question: could a fleet of Zephyrs go head to head against Starlink? Well, I’ve done some digging, and I think they could... (MORE - details)

Jul 2, 2022- US Army's Zephyr S, Solar Powered, Very High Altitude Drone Made a Record Flight ...

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