Spinning the satellite world into a star wars scenario, Motorola is planning to launch a $12.9 billion (#8 billion) superspeed data and video satellite network. The project will be the third and most ambitious for Motorola, and will compete head-on with a proposed $9 billion system that is backed by Bill Gates, called Teledesic. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Motorola's Celestri system will transmit data to the ground at variable rates of between 64,000bps and 155Mbps. It will involve 63 satellites orbiting 900 miles over earth, with the first being launched in 2001. The service is expected to begin the following year - the same year as the rival satellite proposed by wireless pioneer Craig McCaw, which boasts financial backing from Microsoft's chief, is due to be in service.
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