As commercial endeavors expand into space, the need to communicate goes with them. Most of the entrepreneurs, scientists, explorers, and tourists who journey to space will expect to remain in more or less constant contact with the rest of human civilization, which will require a significant communications infrastructure.
Businesses will require constant exchange of data, while space- inhabitants will want their YouTube videos, and live feeds from Earth’s critical elections or its great sporting spectacles. They’ll also want immediate access to the latest tweets from their favorite celebrities, and the latest news from their parents, children or grandchildren.
Increasing the capability of Earth and space-based communications networks therefore becomes a significant enabler of space commerce. A modest but perhaps important step forward is the recent development of a radiation-tolerant internet router that, for the first time, implements internet-protocol-based network services directly onboard a satellite.
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