High-Flying Airplanes Providing World-Wide Internet (Idea)

in idea •  last year

So I've been thinking how to create an independent internet around the earth using satellite-like technology. My idea is pretty simple and inspired by a few ideas. One was having commercial airplanes deliver internet, which seems difficult. Another was idea of a world internet via satellites, including large data, in space, which was my idea. The last was the look of a special airplane which can carry rockets up high toward space, where they take off from.

The idea is quite simple. Instead of commercial flights I want to suggest super high flying airplanes, which circle the globe in an organized fashion. They would be closer than satellites but too high to interfere with other vehicles. They would contain lightweight data storage and satellite technology.

One difficulty is how to keep an airplane so high, so as to not be illegal or interfering with anything. For this I suggest a large glider like frame similar to the rocket-carriers mentioned above. With so little air density, it may have to contain lighter gas than air inside. Also it may need really long wings and low friction propellers, perhaps non-touching magnetic ones. To stay afloat indefinitely these unmanned planes would be covered with lightweight solar.

One advantage to such a system would be universal world access, no third parties and possibly better security. (Timing issues and encryption are easier to track with no middle providers.) Having a single lattice in the stratosphere for efficiency and safety means a need to share it and cooperate across borders. Perhaps multiple such networks could be put up, each at its own airspace height.

Another problem is how to keep track of vehicles which do not orbit in sync with the earth, like television satellites. To save electricity, boost the signal and decrease radiation, I've considered the idea of using parabolic dishes from both sides.

One the ground, this could possibly be done using a elongated 2D parabola shape, which then must be tilted to align with some known path of one the airplanes. The receptor would be a rod along the z axis. The picture below shows how it might look, such that as the plane moves straight, the satellites continues to get reception. I believe the geometry is correct. With the curvature of the earth there may be a problem but perhaps slight enough to still work. The dish tilt could be controlled automatically by computer.

In the air, the airplane could focus signals to all the likely locations in particular plus generally to its designated area. I also imagine hundreds of tiny dishes to allow the plane to conduct more upload throughput as well as good download speed. With many planes, handling individualized traffic seems more possible. Yet there are still issues . Each little dish handling multiple sources still has limits to its number of connections. Maybe some of these can be direct-able to cover more populated areas, etc.

Well that's most of my ideas on this for now.

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Never to rain on one's parade or throw cold water on dreams, I would be doing a disservice to, at least, call your attention to Motorola's iridium system of years ago. It was way ahead of its time and many entities had vested interests which the iridium system threatened. I'll be checking up on you.


Knowing when the time is right is essential. My airplane idea may be impossible but such possibilities increase everyday, with lowering weight of solar and battery.