Facebook and Google quit space race

neilarmstrongAFP-1345922214-299-640x480It was one small step for man, but getting into space is proving to be too much for internet outfits Facebook and Google.

Both companies are shelving their ambitious plans for satellite internet. Facebook’s plans for a geo-stationary satellite has been abandoned over concerns that it will not recoup costs. Google, which hired satellite entrepreneur Greg Wyler to prepare a satellite constellation in 2014, backed out of that plan earlier this year.

The problem was that the two were far too ambitious. Such schemes have been planned and abandoned before. Satellite-internet services today are fairly expensive, and offer slow data speeds.

Constellation satellites which are made up of many small satellites could have offered a faster service, since they are closer to earth than the typical communication satellites and they would cost less.

However experts say that the technical challenges to flying and operating a full-fledged constellation of them may still prove too difficult.

Google also still owns Skybox, a satellite imaging start-up and last we heard had not given up on its other internet distribution projects.