AT&T, Hutchison, Vodafone and BT in talks. Manufacturers developing devices equipped for ‘space tourism.’
Virgin Media has held “secret” talks with a number of the world’s largest network operators over the viability of launching a voice and data network on the moon.
The move is part of Virgin’s ambitious plans to become the first company to offer holidays in space by 2020.
Mobile News understands Virgin boss Richard Branson, who has an estimated net worth of US$4.9 billion, has personally held talks with a number of operators, including BT, AT&T, Vodafone and Hutchison about deploying masts on the moon to ensure passengers can call home.
Virgins space plans were first announced in 2012. Passengers have already begun signing up, with costs per ticket, including a moon walk said to be north of $1.5 million. It’s been 40 years since the last person walked on the moon, but Virgin plans to launch spacecrafts capable of holding up to 10 people per mission. Plans for a hotel, the Neil Armstrong Holiday Inn, built on stilts, is also in the planning.
Virgin says NASA is already developing technology that will automatically detect good landing sites for their space craft.
“Once we’re strapped into the 10-person space craft, the ship is attached to the underside of a huge plane which flies to a bafflingly high altitude,” said a Virgin spokesperson. “When we’re up there – and it takes a while – the ship undocks and rockets out of the atmosphere. Once we peel ourselves out of our seats, having hit enough G-forces to squash an elephant, we find we’re weightless and zipping toward the moon.
“It takes almost a week to get there. Luckily, they have fully-flat beds. With straps, so you don’t float into the gears or something.” (click link for further details on Virgin space holidays).
Connectivity will come directly from earth, via network boosters similar to that of femtocell attached to some of the 1,000 satellites currently orbiting the planet. Signal will then be transmitted to the remaining 384,000 km to the moon – although connectivity will be limited to a specific times of the day only.
Google is also understood to be developing a space visor, capable of withstanding freezing temperatures, whilst still providing passengers the ability to call home, access the internet and take photos using voice control.
A source close to the situation, Mr Li-Ar told Mobile News: “Plans are well on the way. By 2020 you will be able to not only visit the moon, but call people when you are there – although roaming costs will be out of this world.”
Asked whether he would travel? “Oh my. Space travel sound rather perilous. I can assure you they will never get me on one of those dreadful Star Ships.”