When you look up into the night sky, you expect to see the moon, some twinkling stars, and the occasional passing light of an aircraft. Soon, there will be a few more objects in that dark expanse. Cloud Constellation Corp. has recently chosen LeoStella to build the satellites for its cloud-based data storage service.
This service is meant to give customers the securest place possible to house their sensitive data: outer space. The ten satellites will form a constellation of sorts, known as SpaceBelt, and will only be accessible through Cloud Constellation’s telecommunications links.
The SpaceBelt will be put in equatorial low Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of approximately 400 miles. Third party satellites located in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) will provide connections to Cloud Constellation’s proprietary data terminals on Earth. And the sheet metal industry, which currently accounts for roughly $30 billion in U.S. revenue, will help build these structures.
A startup focused on secure data storage, Cloud Constellation chose LeoStella to build the satellites because of the U.S.-European joint venture’s ability to lower the total cost of the project. LeoStella’s prices are lower than the previous frontrunner for satellite production, Northrop Grumman. According to Cloud Constellation CEO Cliff Beek, LeoStella’s lower price will reduce the overall cost of deploying SpaceBelt from $480 million to $350 million.
“It’s a significant improvement from where we were, and makes it so that our capital raise is lower than what we previously needed it to be,” said Beek.
Cloud Constellations will still need additional funding for SpaceBelt, but the $130 million reduction from LeoStella’s plan will make that fundraising easier. As it is, Cloud Constellations is sitting on a sturdy fund already. In December 2018, the innovative data storage startup received a $100 million investment from HCH Group of Hong Kong.
With the ability to build the satellites more quickly and in a smaller size than Northrop Grunman, LeoStella was also chosen for its efficiency. The Seattle-based company has promised to deliver all 10 satellites in 24 months. According to Beek, these satellites will each weigh somewhere between 507 and 530 pounds. They will be built at LeoStella’s recently opened factory just south of Seattle.
While about 96% of organizations have used cloud technology in at least one of its many forms, space-based cloud services can offer an entirely new level of data security. Beek has reported that various digital currency groups have already shown interest in using data storage located in space to better protect against cyberattacks.
He also said that space-based clouds would be most useful for financial institutions. These organizations would be able to send transactional information from one point to another and guarantee that their customers’ private information remained secure.
The chief commercial officer of Cloud Constellations, Dennis Gatens, has pointed out that space-based data storage is also an ideal backup system with literal air-tight security. Any worthy organization knows that having an effective disaster recovery system is as important to a company’s health as drinking the recommended two liters of water every day is for an individual’s wellbeing. Storing data in space presents an advantageous solution for fields such as health care. Doctors and nurses could still protect and access patient information in the face of a disaster or cyber attack.
As Cloud Constellations is a company that is accustomed to looking towards the future, Beek already knows what the step after SpaceBelt is. Right now, space-based cloud services can only store data. Future iterations of the cloud services could have computing capabilities. These abilities enable systems like smart home technology, which about 12% of the world’s internet users already use and another 33% are very likely to use in the future.
But Cloud Constellation knows to take it one cloud in space at a time. SpaceBelt is currently scheduled to go into operation in late 2021.