Kepler, a small satellite startup, has done unprecedented work with satellite-based broadband connectivity to provide high-bandwidth Internet access to the Arctic. Kepler’s nanosatellites have provided up to 100Mbps of Internet access to German icebreakers sailing in the sea, which serve as mobile laboratories for the MOSAiC Research Expedition.
Kepler said it was the first time a high-bandwidth satellite network had been used on the ground in the middle of the Arctic. This connection is more than just a technical demonstration, it has been used by hundreds of researchers in the MOSAiC team to transfer data back and forth between ships and shore-based research stations, improving the team’s ability to collect large amounts of data.
Bulk data transmission has long been a challenge in the exploration of the Earth’s bipolar science. It is impractical to establish high-bandwidth networks on the ground at these locations, and traditional satellite-based networks cannot achieve this speed in these local networks. Kepler provides unique services to the poles through two low-Earth orbit satellites in polar orbit, which means they can serve these scientists to better study the polar effects of climate change.
On the icebreaker, Kepler showed 38Mbps downlink speeds and 120Mbps upstream speeds, just above Google’s maximum recommended for its highest quality Stadia game streaming. But it’s about science, not games.