Cloud Constellation, a startup, is looking to build the SpaceBelt cloud platform on a series of orbiting satellites connected by laser.

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

January 6, 2017

3 Min Read
SpaceBelt Secures Cloud With Space Lasers

Has the 21st century been disappointing so far? No flying cars? No robot maids? Cloud Constellation, a startup, is looking to fix your disillusionment with an ambitious plan to disrupt cloud storage using a fleet of space satellites mounted with lasers.

More precisely, Cloud Constellation plans to launch orbiting satellites that businesses and governments can use to secure their most proprietary and confidential information. The satellites will use laser connections to achieve latency between any points on Earth of less than a third of a second, co-founder and CEO Scott Sobhani tells Light Reading.

The company is moving closer to the launchpad. It expects this month to announce a manufacturer for its satellites, after recently signing an agreement with Space Systems Loral for spacecraft design and some system design work. Then, Cloud Constellation expects to close a B round of funding by March, for $80 million, bringing total funding to about $90 million.

Figure 1: High in the Sky Rendition of the SpaceBelt in operation. Rendition of the SpaceBelt in operation.

This week, the company signed its first channel partnership deal with Elara Comunicaciones, a provider of satellite connectivity based in Mexico, for customer markets in Mexico and Central and South America.

In September, the SolarCoin Foundation said it would purchase storage capacity for its blockchain-based crypto-currency providing financial rewards for solar power generation.

SpaceBelt is designed to enhance security by denying attackers physical access to data. Moreover, as countries enact data sovereignty laws and regulations about the storage of confidential data on national soil, Cloud Constellation is looking to ensure its satellites comply with the rules.

The low latency, less than a third of a second between any two points on the Earth exclusive of the North and South Poles, allows the satellites to serve as a telecom backbone for applications requiring fast response times, such as long-distance drone operations and video services. The satellites could also allow Internet service providers to offload traffic during high congestion periods, routing traffic around congested peering points.

The initial plan is to launch nine to 12 satellites, with a capacity of 2 petabytes each, to cover the entire Earth from orbit above the Equator, at a cost of less than $500 million -- achievable through debt and equity. That compares with other proposed satellite Internet access systems that would cost $4-5 billion, Sobhani says.

Cloud Constellation has about 20 employees, most of them operations engineers, and received its initial round of funding from Eagle Capital Group.

Want to know more about the cloud? Visit Light Reading Enterprise Cloud.

Each satellite is the size of a queen-sized bed, with six to eight solar panels. The company plans to begin manufacturing early this year, and to have the system up and running by 2019, Sobhani says.

"We have developed a system that essentially flips the network upside down," Sobhani says. In conventional satellite-based wide-area networks, data has to touch the ground multiple times, which causes latency and creates a security vulnerability at each point of contact with the Earth.

For regulatory and legal issues, each satellite can be assigned under the jurisdiction of a particular country.

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud

About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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