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Russian Firm Competes with Elon Musk’s Starlink: Successful Satellite Tests

Russian Firm Competes with Elon Musk’s Starlink: Successful Satellite Tests

A Russian company, Bureau 1440, has successfully completed its initial series of tests for a laser inter-satellite link, marking a significant step in its efforts to develop a counterpart to Elon Musk’s Starlink. The company, which focuses on leveraging low-earth orbit satellite systems for high-speed data transmission, announced the milestone in a Telegram post on Monday.

During the tests, Bureau 1440 managed to transfer over 200 gigabytes of data at a speed of 10 gigabits per second between satellites situated more than 30 kilometers apart. This achievement represents the company’s first successful use of domestic laser inter-satellite communication in space, demonstrating the viability and potential of its technology.

The company indicated plans to conduct numerous additional tests over greater distances, extending to hundreds of kilometers between satellites. Similar to SpaceX’s Starlink, these satellites operate in low-Earth orbit and utilize inter-satellite laser links to facilitate global internet coverage.

While Russia is barred from using Starlink, reports suggest that Russian forces have managed to acquire the company’s terminals through a complex black market, deploying them on the Ukrainian battlefield.

Formerly known as MegaFon 1440, Bureau 1440 announced a $76 million investment in developing a satellite data transmission system in 2020. The company launched its first three satellites into orbit in 2023, as reported by Russian business portal TAdviser. Last month, Bureau 1440 reiterated its goal to create a broadband data service capable of providing high-speed, low-latency communications globally, mirroring SpaceX’s Starlink.

The company’s website promotes the project as a revolutionary development akin to Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite launched into orbit in 1957. Bureau 1440 did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Bureau 1440 is among several entities striving to provide global high-speed internet access through satellite constellations in low Earth orbit. Competitors in this market include Starlink, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, Eutelsat’s OneWeb, and Telesat’s Lightspeed.

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