Following market approval given to OneWeb in June, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Nov. 3 granted global fleet operator Telesat permission to reach the U.S. with a constellation of 117 low-Earth orbit satellites.
SpaceX and OneWeb say they are within months of launching the first satellites in their competing megaconstellations of broadband smallsats designed to bring internet to every corner of the globe.
Telesat is some three to five months ahead of OneWeb in launching low-Earth orbit telecommunications satellites, and barring a surprise launch from SpaceX, will likely be the first new mega-constellation to put hardware into operation.
Satellites have been the option of last resort for telecommunication companies and their customers in the past decades, according to Renato Goodfellow, head of global satellite at BT Global Services.
In contrast to the millions of cars and thousands of airplanes produced annually, satellites are produced in much lower numbers. Even OneWeb’s mega-constellation, doesn’t provide the scale needed to justify the upfront expense of automating assembly.
LeoSat plans to provide Supernet with more than three gigabits of capacity on the global communications network it is developing, which is comprised of satellites built by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy based on the firm’s EliteBus.
Satellite telecom startup OneWeb, emboldened by the oversubscribed $1.2 billion Softbank-led investment gained in December, is on the verge of adding another 2,000 satellites to its previously proposed constellation of several hundred satellites.
OneWeb has raised $1.2 billion in an investor round led by SoftBank, completing the non-debt financing the start up needs to build its satellite internet constellation.
Airbus and OneWeb on Jan. 26 announced they had formed the company OneWeb Satellites, which will build the OneWeb constellation.
Greg Wyler’s audacious vision for connecting the world via a 720-satellite constellation has no successful precedent. But $500 million of initial investment capital and an impressive list of ground-floor partners go a long way toward building credibility.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell on Oct. 27 downplayed the company’s 4,000-satellite broadband Internet constellation, saying the project remained “very speculative” pending a deeper assessment of its business case.
A proposed wave of low Earth orbit communications satellite constellations could become an interference hazard for satellites in geostationary orbit even if those new systems comply with existing rules, some satellite operators fear.
The French government, determined that its industry not lose out on what might be a large new business in building low-orbiting satellite communications constellations, has issued a request for bids to industry for ideas on new components and manufacturing techniques.
OneWeb LLC, which is planning a 700-satellite constellation of low-orbiting satellites to provide broadband worldwide, on Oct. 12 named Matthew O’Connell, a former chief executive of geospatial imagery provider GeoEye, as chief executive.
Satellite fleet operator Intelsat says its investment in start-up OneWeb’s low-orbiting constellation of 700 Internet-delivery and cellular-backhaul satellites came in return for exclusive rights to a wide swath of OneWeb’s future markets.