Satellites were the darlings of the development set back when I was in grad school in the 1980s. When I returned to Sri Lanka and started working at the Arthur C. Clarke Centre for Modern Technologies, one of my assignments was to get Sri Lanka connected to the Internet via satellite. It didn’t, and I left.
As a result, I’ve acquired quite a bit of knowledge on satellites along the way. So when I heard that the government was going to name a LEO (Low Earth Orbital) satellite for Sir Arthur C. Clarke (the originator of the concept of the exact opposite, Geostationary or High Earth Orbital satellites), I was intrigued.
Before large amounts of taxpayer money are committed to this project, it would be good to have a broad debate on the pros and cons. I have not been able to identify any pros, but that was not for the lack of trying.
Here is my effort to get the debate started:
Speaking of the second geostationary satellite, Mr Kariyapperuma had stated that “the ‘geo’ can be used for broadcasting, communications and high speed Internet.” It can indeed be used for the first two, but one wonders whether a LKR 11,500,000,000 (11.5 billion) satellite is the highest priority for this little island which seems to be doing pretty well in terms of TV, radio and telecommunications. Satellites are usually required by large continental or archipelagic countries like India and Indonesia.