Wi-Fi in the Sky

“Just a little rain falling all around

The grass lifts its head to the heavenly sound

Just a little rain, just a little rain

What have they done to the rain?”

– Malvina Reynolds

On September 23, 1998, 66 satellites, launched into low orbit by the Iridium Corporation, commenced broadcasting to the first ever satellite telephones. Those phones would work equally as well in mid-ocean, and in Antarctica, as in the middle of Los Angeles—a remarkable achievement.

But telephone interviews revealed that on that day exactly, electrically sensitive people all over the world experienced stabbing pains in their chest, knife-like sensations in their head, nosebleeds, asthma attacks, and other signs of severe electrical illness. Many did not think they were going to make it. Statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control reveal that the national death rate rose 4 to 5 percent during the following two weeks. Thousands of homing pigeons lost their way during those two weeks, all over the United States.

Several companies are now competing to provide not just cell phone service, but Wi-Fi, to every square inch of the earth from satellites in space, or from balloons, or from drones. Their target dates are three to four years from now. They are planning not 66 satellites, but thousands of satellites. There isn’t much time to prevent a global ecological catastrophe.

The companies include:

SpaceX:    4,000 satellites, 750 miles high

OneWeb:    2,400 satellites (648 satellites initially), 500-590 miles high

Facebook:    Satellites, drones, and lasers

Google:    200,000(?) high altitude balloons (62,500 feet) (“Project Loon”)

Outernet:     Low-orbit microsatellites

Honeywell, which already has signed a memorandum of understanding to become OneWeb’s first large customer—it plans to provide high-speed WiFi on business, commercial, and military aircraft throughout the world—has posted this on its website:

“OneWeb is building a constellation of more than 600 satellites, which will provide approximately 10 terabits per second of high-speed Internet access to billions of people around the world, even in the most remote areas. Once launched, OneWeb’s constellation will be the largest telecommunications constellation in orbit, enabling more capacity with higher speed and lower latency than any satellite technology to date.”


Press image from OneWeb’s website

In addition to microwaving the Earth, these plans have the potential to destroy the Earth’s ozone layer.

The New York Times (May 14, 1991, p. 4) quoted Aleksandr Dunayev of the Russian Space Agency saying “About 300 launches of the space shuttle each year would be a catastrophe         and the ozone layer would be completely destroyed.”

At that time the world averaged only 12 rocket launches per year. These were thought to cause less than 0.6% depletion of the ozone layer. Research into the effects of rocket exhaust on   the ozone layer has virtually ceased, but the number of launches is poised to increase astronomically.

If 12 rocket launches per year reduced the ozone by even 0.3%, then Dunayev was correct, and 300 launches in a year would destroy the ozone layer totally. To maintain a fleet of      (ultimately) 4,000 or 2,400 satellites, each with an expected lifespan of five years, would involve enough yearly rocket launches to be an environmental catastrophe.

An international coalition, Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space (GUARDS) has just formed.