A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching to space. Photo: SpaceX

Satellite internet startup Astranis is planning to launch its first commercial satellite to space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2020, the company announced Monday.

How it works: The satellite is designed to improve broadband internet service in Alaska starting in March 2021.

Why it matters: Unlike SpaceX or Amazon — which plan to use many small satellites in low-Earth orbit to provide internet to large swaths of the world — Astranis is focusing its efforts on satellites that can deliver internet to relatively wide areas with one spacecraft at a time to start.

"You can get some service, effectively immediately, to the places that most need it, and really provide a focused beam of bandwidth on those places."
— Astranis CEO John Gedmark to Axios

According to Gedmark, the satellite going up next year is expected to reduce internet costs for Alaska’s Pacific Dataport and Microcom customers by up to 3 times, delivering broadband for about $100 per month or less.

  • Astranis' satellite for Alaska sits somewhere between SpaceX's Starlink satellites — which are about 500 pounds each — and huge, traditional telecommunications satellites.
  • The company hopes to eventually launch dozens more to bring broadband to underserved populations in other parts of the world.

Yes, but: Astranis plans to launch its satellites to geostationary orbit — about 22,000 miles above Earth's surface — which could create a delay in response time for customers using the internet service.

  • “If they are underserved or have no connection at all, then they just want internet as fast as possible. … Really, 95 percent of what people do in today’s world is not latency-sensitive,” Gedmark told GeekWire's Alan Boyle in January.

Go deeper

2 mins ago - Technology

Netflix stock sinks after Q3 subscriber miss

Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix's stock was down more than 5% in after-hours trading Tuesday after the tech giant reported that it missed expectations on global subscriber growth for the quarter.

Why it matters: Netflix experienced explosive growth during the first half of the year. It wasn't expected to match that growth this quarter, when lockdowns lifted and after new competitive services had launched, but analysts were still expecting it to meet expectations of at least 3.3 million net new global subscribers.

Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks

Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Several Republican senators defended Anthony Fauci after a string of attacks in recent days from President Trump, who has called the government's top infectious-disease expert "a disaster" and falsely claimed that he's a Democrat.

Why it matters: As polls indicate warning signs for both Trump and down-ballot Republicans, more GOP leaders are urging the president to stop downplaying the pandemic and to listen to advice from public health experts. Fauci is one of the most trusted voice in the country on coronavirus issues.

Senate to vote on Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation on Oct. 26

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Capitol on Oct. 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Senate will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next Monday, Oct. 26, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday.

The big picture: The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote this Thursday to advance Barrett's nomination to the full Senate floor. Democrats have acknowledged that there's nothing procedurally they can do to stop Barrett's confirmation, which will take place just one week out from Election Day.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!