More than 2,000 satellites will be launched as part of the project by Airbus and OneWeb that aims to provide every school in the world with an internet connection. The satellites will work together in a mega-constellation with 600 sent in the first instance.
The OneWeb project will produce satellites in a similar method to a factory production system – a change from the current process which costs hundreds of millions of dollars and takes a lengthy period of time. The aim it to turn out three units a shift at less than a million dollars each, the BBC reported.
The satellites will be made in Toulouse and Florida and the first 10 will be launched next April. The project aims to put 600 in space by 2022 and then 800 by 2025. Brian Holz, CEO of OneWeb/Airbus manufacturing, said the ambition was to set new standards in debris mitigation.
“We can bring down the satellites and re-enter within two years; we’ve made that commitment,” he told BBC News. “We’ve put extra hardware into the system to improve the reliability of that de-orbit process. We’re also committing to put a small adapter device on to each spacecraft that will allow those spacecraft, in the small probability that one of them dies on the way down, to be grabbed by a small chase vehicle and pulled out of orbit.”