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Says the first line of the presentation entitled “Building a Distributed Satellite Ground Station Network – A Call To Arms” given some time ago at the 28th Chaos Communication Congress (28C3) in Berlin by hackers from the Hackerspace Global Grid team.
The presentation was lead off by Nick Farr who had already proposed the need of a new independent infrastructure and space program at the Chaos Communication Camp (CCCamp11). The main aim is to create a free alternative to the Internet that would be censorship-free and legislation-proof.
This infrastructure should be realized as a network of small and cheap satellites orbiting the globe and communicating with independent ground stations spread – ideally – all over the world. This might sound a bit incredible, but to be fair the team has already done some work and has a concept of future proceedings.
Now they want to start building simple modules for the ground stations that would allow for synchronization in time, getting the position of the ground station and connecting with other measurement systems – all very important for keeping track of satellites and maintaining connections to them. As the small satellites won’t reach the geostationary orbit – thus not staying in a fixed point in the sky to a ground observer – they will need to be tracked. Every base station’s location – obtained from an existing positioning system (like GPS) – is to be used to compute satellites’ position. Armin Bauer, one of the team members, calls it a “reverse GPS”.
Once the network is operational in this manner, the concept for further “expansion stages” including, for example, sender triangulation,with the ultimate goal being support for data transmission.
Now let’s assume they succeed. What would the time-to-live value of such a network be? Could you imagine that governments worldwide would just stand by and let anything legislation-proof happen on such a scale? I truly doubt that. I mean, how could something like that slip through in the future when legislations like SOPA or PIPA are being discussed today?
Author Peter Stancik, ESET