While thinking about this area, I thought you might enjoy this photograph taken from an ESA spacecraft.

It is a single image from an EnviroSat showing contrails of aircraft traveling across the SE UK and Northern Europe.

With this much travel -- happening everywhere -- global communications are essential, critical and for various reasons, vulnerable.



North Sea -Spring 2009

Just for fun, about 10 years ago, I made a "back of the envelope" calculation of how many people were in the air traveling 24 hours a day (not the same people of course).

There are about 200 countries. At least half have 50 airports each. The other half have say, 4.

Each major airport supports take-offs every 5-10 minutes for a minimum of 10 hours per day.

So.

Number of major airports = 200 x 50 = 10,000. Forget the others.

Number of airplane take-offs - 6 per hour (conservative) for 10 hours = 60 take-offs per major airport.

An average airplane holds 200 people (given the recession, although in the past 10 years, I've never had an empty seat next to me!)..

So.

60 take-offs x 200 people = 12,000 people.

12,000 people x 10,000 airports = 120,000,000 million people are in the air simultaneously.

Even if it was 1/10th of that, a city the size of London or New York or Tokyo, are people living in the air 24 hours a day.

Fun.




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