Creating a Social Impact from the Atmosphere

Portuguese tech company builds Skyorbiters to fly around the world without stopping and provide universal internet access

Communication has always played an integral role in history: 600 years ago our ancestors kickstarted globalization by way of sea and recent innovators built networking platforms to influence entire social movements. The internet has developed as the critical tool for communication and allowed the world to connect in remarkable ways. However, there are still people and countries that live without access to it. Today, a team at Portuguese company Quarkson is a modern-day Marco Polo of sorts: engineers working to make the internet available to every person on earth, an access declared by the United Nations as a human right.

The Portuguese company takes communication from the sea to the sky as they develop and build a constellation of SkyOrbiters, long-endurance unmanned satellites designed to offer Internet to the most remote corners of the world. The fleet of SkyOrbiters will orbit the Earth in various low and high altitudes in the atmosphere rather than space. Six models are to be powered by fossil fuel while the remaining three models will harvest power through a solar array on their wings, allowing the cutting-edge technology to fly around the world for weeks, months, or years without the need to stop or refuel.

Skylink System

State-of-the-art structural design components allow the SkyOrbiters to deliver a range of access to telecommunications and broadcasting services across low-density and high-density platforms. The SkyOrbiters are used in conjunction with systems being developed, including the revolutionary Skylink, a wireless communication service delivered from various SkyOrbiter platforms. Including internet, Skylink is expected to fulfill a myriad of other services such as public protection, disaster relief and environmental monitoring. The benefits of such vastly influential technology includes large-area broadcasting, development of world applications and greater military communication. According to Quarkson, the aerial vehicles can be built at a low-cost and with rapid deployment in comparison to traditional satellites.


The undertaking of such a civic engagement project needs global involvement to succeed, a triumph that would influence all of humanity. Quarkson is currently focused on partnering with commercial and government donors and sponsors to fund the development and growth of the satellites for a series of challenges, including the Maiden Flight to collect data on all of the functions and operational features. Such information will be utilized to provide improvements to the other projects in development. They aim to succeed in later challenges across Portugal and around the world. Partners and donors can play a role in the future of worldwide communication, and offer a sustainable solution to provide universal internet access.

Around The World Challenge

If successful, their disruption of the landscape of aerospace technology could revolutionize the way the world connects.