Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com marked Independence Day by filing an application with the Federal Communications Commission to launch 3,236 satellites to provide global Internet services from space. The Los Angeles Timesreports:
Amazon in its FCC application said its satellites would operate at altitudes of about 370 to 390 miles (590 to 630 kilometers).
Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos last month said the Kuiper project would cost “multiple billions of dollars.” The project is separate from Bezos’ space launch vehicle maker, Blue Origin.
In its FCC filing, Amazon said it would help serve U.S. communities “by offering fixed broadband communications services to rural and hard-to-reach areas.” The Kuiper System will help mobile network operators to expand wireless services, Amazon said in its application. It also offered the prospect of “high-throughput mobile broadband connectivity services for aircraft, maritime vessels and land vehicles.”
Amazon is in a race with OneWeb, SpaceX and other companies to provide global broadband services from space. SpaceX has received approval for nearly 12,000 satellites and launched the first 60 spacecraft of its Starlink constellation in May. OneWeb launched the first six of a planned 648 satellites in February.
When the contract was announced in June 2015, it seemed like a blockbuster deal: satellite Internet provider OneWeb had placed an order for 39 launches with options for 100 more for Virgin Galactic’s (now Virgin Orbit’s) LauncherOne.
What made the order extraordinary was not just the large number of launches, but the fact that the rocket really didn’t even exist yet. (The fact that Richard Branson’s Virgin Group was an investor in OneWeb probably helped.)
Four years later, the blockbuster deal is a bust. According to a lawsuit filed this week by Virgin Orbit, OneWeb last year canceled 35 of the 39 planned launches., slicing most of the value from the $234 million deal.
SpaceNewsreports that Virgin Orbit orbit is suing for $46.32 million it claims OneWeb owes it from a $70 million contract termination fee.
Jeff Bezos’ Amazon has jumped into a crowded field of companies seeking to provide high-speed broadband, data and other communications services to the entire globe.
Amazon’s Kuiper constellation of 3,236 satellites brings the total number of spacecraft in the 16 announced systems to 20,241 spacecraft. The competition includes SpaceX, Boeing, Telesat, SES and government-backed companies in China and Russia.
Investment enables completion of Tarana’s revolutionary solution for fixed wireless broadband access.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Tarana Wireless) — Tarana Wireless Inc. today announced a $60 million financing with Khosla Ventures and EchoStar Corporation, as a follow-on to financing of $28m led by 1010 Holdings, LLC, the family offices of Greg Wyler. In conjunction with the financing, EchoStar Chairman Charlie Ergen, Khosla Ventures partner Samir Kaul, and Greg Wyler, Chairman of OneWeb, have joined Tarana’s board of directors. Kranti Kilaru recently stepped down from his role as EVP at EchoStar to join Tarana’s leadership team as President.
With total financing of nearly $200 million, Tarana has created a new class of radio technology with unprecedented immunity to obstructions, interference, changing conditions, and spectrum scarcity. Tarana’s fixed wireless access technology will drive a tenfold improvement in the network economics of gigabit broadband access at massive scale.
EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — OneWeb is the developer of a new global, high-speed, low latency satellite-based network designed to address the most demanding global connectivity challenges worldwide. Ariane 6 will be available to OneWeb from the second half of 2020 to provide launch capacity that supports the full deployment and replenishment of the OneWeb constellation.
The launch service agreement specifies the use of the qualification launch of the Ariane 62 version, scheduled for the second half of 2020; the two Ariane 6 options (either in its 62 version, accommodating up to 36 OneWeb satellites, or in the 64 version, up to 78 OneWeb satellites) will be utilized starting in 2023.
New funding to start mass production of satellites
Combined with its successful first launch of satellites, OneWeb gains clear first mover advantage
New fundraising demonstrates strong investor support for OneWeb
March 18, 2019 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone, everywhere, announces it has secured its largest fundraising round to date with the successful raise of $1.25 billion in new capital. This brings the total funds raised to $3.4 billion. This round was led by SoftBank Group Corp., Grupo Salinas, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., and the Government of Rwanda.
OneWeb signs major agreement with Talia to deliver broadband connectivity to Africa and the Middle East
First client signing with Intermatica for telecommunications services in Europe
Signing ceremonies with Talia and Intermatica take place at #MWC19
McLean, Va., 27 February, 2019 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, the global satellite-powered communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone, everywhere, announces during #MWC19 that it has secured its first customer contracts to deliver its high speed, low latency, global communications services.
KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace played a significant role in improving global connectivity with today’s Soyuz launch that deployed the initial six satellites in OneWeb’s constellation – which will provide affordable high-speed internet access for users around the world.
The cluster of spacecraft – produced by the OneWeb Satellites joint venture of OneWeb and Airbus – was successfully deployed into a circular low Earth orbit on Arianespace’s first Soyuz mission of 2019 (and the launch services company’s second mission overall this year).
Launch of first six satellites is the first step on the path to delivering true global connectivity and bridging the digital divide
Launch signals the beginning of the largest satellite launch campaign in history and the transition from successful proof-of-concept to the commercialization of OneWeb
London, UK, February 28, 2019 (OneWeb PR) —OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone, everywhere, today announced the successful launch of its first six broadband satellites aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.
LONDON (UKSA PR) — Affordable worldwide internet coverage is one step closer today, after £18 million [$23.5 million] of UK Space Agency funding was awarded to OneWeb through the European Space Agency, to aid the development of its next generation satellite constellation.
A global communications network in space, the system will be comprised of approximately 650 satellites initially and scale to more than 900 satellites over time.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore is visiting the European Space Agency in the Netherlands today. He will say:
Fast internet access is something many people take for granted but in many areas of the world connectivity is still hit and miss.
This new £18m investment will go towards meeting the significant technical challenges of the project, putting the UK at the forefront of cutting-edge research and development.
The commercial potential for a cost effective worldwide telecoms satellite system is huge, and the UK space sector is playing a leading role in delivering it. It is made possible by our ongoing commitment to the European Space Agency and our world-leading capabilities in space and telecommunications, which we are supporting through our modern Industrial Strategy.
LONDON, February, 21, 2019 (OneWeb PR) ― OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone, everywhere, today announced that it will take FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international, youth-serving, nonprofit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen, into orbit on February 26th.
OneWeb is on the cusp of bringing about a new era of space, launching the world’s first Low Earth Orbit global broadband satellite constellation that will provide connectivity for everyone, everywhere.
TOULOUSE, France, Jan. 22, 2019 (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to provide internet to everyone, everywhere through a global satellite constellation, announced that its first satellites have successfully arrived in Kourou, French Guiana as the company prepares for its first launch on February 19th.
This achievement demonstrates the hard work and commitment of industry partners as OneWeb continues to make progress towards building the world’s first global satellite communications network in space.
HERNDON, Va., USA, 14 January 2019 – Airbus Defense and Space Inc. has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a satellite bus in support of the Blackjack program.
DARPA describes the Blackjack program as an architecture demonstration intending to show the military utility of global low-earth orbit constellations and mesh networks of lower size, weight and cost. DARPA wants to buy commercial satellite buses and pair them with military sensors and payloads. The bus drives each satellite by generating power, controlling attitude, providing propulsion, transmitting spacecraft telemetry, and providing general payload accommodation including mounting locations for the military sensors.
OTTAWA, CANADA, November 29, 2018 (Telesat PR) – An independent technical study, led by members of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has concluded that the design of Telesat’s global LEO constellation is far more efficient compared to those of OneWeb and SpaceX.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s plan to provide high-speed communications to virtually any location on Earth got a big boost this week when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the company’s plan to add 7,518 satellites to the company’s Starlink constellation.
The action brings the total number of satellites in Starlink to 11,943 following the FCC’s earlier approval of 4,425 spacecraft last year.
Starlink is Musk’s ambitious entry into the global satellite Internet race. He is gambling big that there is a sufficient market worldwide to make the constellation profitable.
SpaceX launched two test Starlink test satellites into orbit earlier this year. Published reports say Musk wants to launch the first batch of satellites in the middle of next year, with service to begin in 2020.
Starlink is facing competition from OneWeb, which is planning to launch a constellation of 882 satellites to provide similar service. OneWeb plans to begin launching spacecraft next year.
The FCC also approved satellite broadband constellations by three other satellite companies last week. Telesat Canada received approval for an 117-satellite constellation while LeoSat plans to launch 78 spacecraft.
Kepler Communication’s 140-satellite constellation is focused on providing communications for the Internet of Things.
“These proposed satellite systems are expected to enable fixed satellite service in the United States, expanding global connectivity and advancing the goals of increasing high-speed broadband availability and competition in the marketplace,” the FCC said in a press release.
The constellations will greatly increase the number of satellites in Earth orbit. There are currently about 4,900 spacecraft in orbit out of the approximately 8,100 launched since the Space Age began in October 1957. Nearly 2,000 spacecraft are currently operational.