Declan Ganley, founder and CEO of Rivada Networks, is in a fierce battle over Earth’s “Goldilocks zone”—a prime location for a low Earth orbit satellite network.
“This is the most state-of-the-art communications network that the planet will have ever seen,” Ganley told NTD’s Paul Greaney.
The network would compete directly with Elon Musk’s Starlink network. But Rivada’s permits are for an even sweeter position in space.
“Think of these as cell towers in space. This position puts you on top of the hills, and not down in the valleys … above Elon Musk’s Starlink constellation.”
Rivada is a commercial entity and plans to use the network for purely commercial purposes—licensing use of the network to businesses and governments around the world. But a network that powerful could, hypothetically, be weaponized for military use.
“Let’s say something was traveling at enormous speed, but you wanted to be able to communicate with, guide, direct it—whatever. This would be an ideal network for that,” Ganley explained.
A Chinese Communist Party-backed company is trying to sink Ganley’s plans and deploy its own network in the Goldilocks zone.
Before Rivada appeared on the scene, the Chinese provided the financing for the project—at least $120 million. It partnered with a German company, Kleo Connect, the brains behind the innovative satellite network. But after the Germans got wind that the Chinese were building a replica company in Shanghai, they terminated the deal. The Germans feared the Chinese were planning to steal their technology.
“Not just technology, but the whole project lock, stock, and barrel: filings, orbital rights, the whole lot,” said Ganley.
After the breakup, Ganley came on the scene with new financing, backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and former White House chief of staff Karl Rove.
Rivada is now in a race against time. It has seven years to launch as many of the 600 satellites granted by the permits as it can. After that, its permits will be constrained.
And the Chinese aren’t making it easy for him.
“This must have some sort of strategic importance for the CCP and their friends because otherwise, the resources wouldn’t be available to wage the kind of very high-profile and public lawfare that they are waging,” Ganley added.