Vlog 03 - Line of Sight

Audacy Founder & Chief Engineer James Spicer explains the Line-of-Sight problem in satellite communications, which makes it impossible to achieve real-time access using any ground based solution.

About James Spicer

James Spicer started at Stanford University in 2011, where his research included work with the Plasma Physics, Bio-Inspired Flight, and GPS laboratories. He performed research into precise aerial positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) using terrestrial and space-based networks, and worked on a UAV capable of navigating using GPS or alternative terrestrial systems including ADS-B. 

Spicer co-founded Audacy after graduating Stanford in 2015 with Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics, as well as a Notation in Science Communication. At Audacy he currently serves as Chief Engineer, leading the technical team designing the company’s revolutionary space data relay architecture.  

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What is Line-of-Sight?

Today the majority of new satellites are deployed into fast moving Low Earth Orbits (LEO). where they circle the Earth about every 90 minutes. In order to communicate with a ground station, the satellite requires an unobstructed view - or Line of Sight - with the ground station. That window is as short as 10 minutes, and it can be many hours before the satellites orbital track realigns with the ground location for another pass. 

Adding more ground stations is expensive, has many regulatory challenges, and cannot fully resolve the problem, as two thirds of the Earth are covered in water. A space-based relay network is the only possible solution to achieve continuous line-of-sight between the satellite, and from the relay to the ground; enabling true 24/7 real-time communications. 

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