Airbus will make 900 Satellites for OneWeb’s Space Internet Project

Last week it was announced that Elon Musk’s SpaceX had applied to the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) for permission to test its Space Internet Project. Today OneWeb’s Greg Wyler announced that the company had chosen Airbus to make its internet from space satellites which will be launched in 2018.

Airbus will begin making the satellites in Toulouse France later transferring production to the US. Airbus will make 4 satellites a day for OneWeb .The total estimated cost is $1.5-$2 billion according to Greg Wyler. The project is co-funded by Richard Branson’s Virgin and chipmaker Qualcomm.

Virgin Galactic will launch the satellites using their own LauncherOne rocket. The satellites will weigh less than 150 kg and of the 900 produced, only 700 will be launched into space with the extras kept as replacements.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX project has the same aim, beaming high speed internet from space to the whole world. The $1 billion project is co-funded by Google and Fidelity. Musk’s own rocket Falcon 9 will be used to launch the satellites. SpaceX have opted to launch 4000 smaller satellites as opposed to OneWeb's decision to use larger satellites.

Internet beamed from space will give internet access to billions of people around the world including those in remote regions and is expected to be cheaper for consumers than internet access provided by ISP’s.

UK’s Richard Branson and US’s Elon Musk are both highly competitive, innovative, rocket owning self- made billionaires with a great interest in both space travel and communications. Both are determined to be the first to successfully beam internet from space, so the space race is on.         

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