A Steampunk History of a World at War

Global semaphore

nimda's picture
Wednesday, 3 February 1897 to Thursday, 19 August 1915

The problem of communicating between Voidships in the vastness of mere orbital space is a magnitude worse than the same problem in the ocean.

Sir Henry Christopher Mance of British Army Signal Corps had solved the problem on land and was happy to adapt it for the British Empire on a scale never before seen: the [Bad Link: Plugin Not Found].

In 1896 the Royal Navy began construction of a series of heliograph signalling stations positioned around the equator and placed in geo-synchronous orbits. These stations, with the main one above Ceylon in the Indian Ocean, could communicate messages around the globe in minutes, up from the ground, around the world and back to ground at the viewing stations.

The semaphore stations are located at 0N 0E (Greenwich meridian/equator) which is off the coast of Africa, at 0N 90W which is over a set of islands off the coast of South America in the Pacific and at 0N 180E - the other side of the world. A geostationary orbit is at about 22,236 miles which is far enough out that the satellites can see and signal each other with lights so communicate.

Almost immediately rumours of lights in the sky began to percolate through the media. This culminated in the [Bad Link: Plugin Not Found] just before the turn of the millennium.

The stations continued in use up to the start of the Great War in 1911, but were ultimately replace by Tesla and Marconi's [Bad Link: Plugin Not Found]. However the semaphore stations remained manned as a back-up system for many years afterwards.