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posted by spiraldancing on Tuesday February 04 2020, @09:17PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the It's-getting-awful-crowded-in-my-sky dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

For the better part of a year, SpaceX has gotten the lion's share of attention when it comes to mega-constellations and satellite Internet.

[...] But it was actually another company, OneWeb, that launched the first six satellites of its mega-constellation back in February, 2019. Initial tests of those satellites went well, the company said last summer. Now OneWeb is preparing for its second launch of 34 satellites on board a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The launch is scheduled for 4:42pm ET (21:42 UTC) on Thursday, February 6.

On the eve of Thursday's launch, Ars spoke with OneWeb Chief Executive Officer Adrián Steckel about the company's plans and how it will compete with half a dozen other firms looking at providing Internet from space.

[...] "Right now, we’re the largest buyer of launch in the world," Steckel said. "In the future, as we look to our next phase of deployment, we're willing to buy rocket launches from SpaceX, Blue Origin, or whoever."

OneWeb has taken a different approach than SpaceX in terms of how it plans to interact with customers on the ground. SpaceX has opted to offer direct-to-consumer services with the intention of selling user terminals to acquire satellite from space and essentially functioning as a new Internet provider. OneWeb plans to partner with existing telecommunications companies, Steckel said.

[...] It's a model the company believes makes sense because the right answer for getting regulatory approval and delivering service in the United States or the Philippines or Indonesia will vary, Steckel said. "We're going to be doing business with partners around the world," Steckel said. "Our style is not confrontational. We're using a different model. It's a big world."

OneWeb plans to offer its first customer demonstrations by the end of 2020 and provide full commercial global services in 2021.


Original Submission

Related Stories

SpaceX Approved to Deploy 1 Million U.S. Starlink Terminals; OneWeb Reportedly Considers Bankruptcy 33 comments

SpaceX gets FCC license for 1 million satellite-broadband user terminals

SpaceX has received government approval to deploy up to 1 million user terminals in the United States for its Starlink satellite-broadband constellation.

SpaceX asked the Federal Communications Commission for the license in February 2019, and the FCC announced its approval in a public notice last week. The FCC approval is for "a blanket license for the operation of up to 1,000,000 fixed earth stations that will communicate with [SpaceX's] non-geostationary orbit satellite system." The license is good for 15 years.

[...] One million terminals would only cover a fraction of US homes, but SpaceX isn't necessarily looking to sign up huge portions of the US population. Musk said at the conference that Starlink will likely serve the "3 or 4 percent hardest-to-reach customers for telcos" and "people who simply have no connectivity right now, or the connectivity is really bad." Starlink won't have lots of customers in big cities like LA "because the bandwidth per cell is simply not high enough," he said.

SpaceX's main Starlink constellation competitor is running out of money

OneWeb, the only pressing competitor facing SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet constellation, has reportedly begun to consider filing for bankruptcy shortly before the London-based company completed its third dedicated launch.

OneWeb Launches its First Large Batch of Broadband Satellites, Plans March Launch and April Break 6 comments

OneWeb's first large batch of satellites launch on Arianespace Soyuz rocket

A Soyuz rocket launched 34 small broadband satellites for OneWeb Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, marking the beginning of a multi-launch campaign for the company.

[...] The launch expands OneWeb's constellation of low Earth orbiting satellites to 40, following a Soyuz launch last February that carried six satellites.

Adrian Steckel, OneWeb's chief executive, told SpaceNews the company has another batch of 34 satellites launching from Baikonur in March before the company plans to take a monthlong break to implement spacecraft software and hardware changes. After that pause, OneWeb plans to launch once in May and once in June before potentially shifting out of a monthly launch cadence, he said.

Steckel said OneWeb still plans to achieve global coverage by the end of 2021. The company is building its satellites in Florida through a joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space called OneWeb Satellites.

Counting Thursday's launch, OneWeb plans to conduct a total of 17 or 18 Soyuz launches and one Ariane 6 launch with Arianespace to orbit 588 satellites before the end of next year, Steckel said. After those launches, OneWeb will pause again before deciding a schedule for launching 60 spares, completing the 648-satellite first-generation constellation, he said.

See also:
Op-ed | SpaceX's adaptation to market changes
SpaceX Starlink is a step closer to beaming satellite internet to Australia

Previously:
OneWeb Joins the Satellite Internet Gold Rush this Week


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday February 04 2020, @09:53PM (7 children)

    by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Tuesday February 04 2020, @09:53PM (#953816) Homepage
    ... the dot COMSAT bubble.
    --
    I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday February 05 2020, @12:04AM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday February 05 2020, @12:04AM (#953900) Journal

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Starlink#Launches [wikipedia.org]

      The problem for OneWeb is the relentless pace of SpaceX launching its own satellites using its own rockets. It will only get worse if SpaceX switches to Starship.

      It's not a bubble, it's a brick wall.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday February 05 2020, @12:51AM (1 child)

        by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Wednesday February 05 2020, @12:51AM (#953941) Homepage
        Until the Kessler cascade.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday February 05 2020, @02:46AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 05 2020, @02:46AM (#954005) Journal

          Until the Kessler cascade.

          Not saying that's not a problem, but is not such a critical one.

          The StarLink are in the low LEO scale of altitudes. Without altitude correction (as the fragments resulted from a collision are supposed to be), they'll end burning in the atmosphere in about 10 years or so.

          Max altitude for SpaceX StarLink - 340 km [wikipedia.org]

          Hubble telescope [wikipedia.org] - perigee altitude: 537.0km. Left alone, it won't last until 2040 [space.com].

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by khallow on Wednesday February 05 2020, @12:13AM (3 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 05 2020, @12:13AM (#953909) Journal
      Or rather another peak. It flamed out in 2000-2001 too.
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday February 05 2020, @12:53AM (2 children)

        by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Wednesday February 05 2020, @12:53AM (#953943) Homepage
        Why did you feel the need to follow up to a post which contained the substrings "dot COM" and "bubble" with a mention of the year 2000?

        New bits, khallow, new bits please.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05 2020, @02:48AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05 2020, @02:48AM (#954006)

          He's out of bits. His last chunks start coming down, burning on reentry.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by khallow on Wednesday February 05 2020, @04:08AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 05 2020, @04:08AM (#954039) Journal

          Why did you feel the need to follow up to a post which contained the substrings "dot COM" and "bubble" with a mention of the year 2000?

          Why do you ask? Just because you might know (and we still haven't established that you did know prior to the previous post!), doesn't mean everyone else reading this does. It's new, ok? Here's some more on that NEW history [thespacereview.com]:

          In the mid-to-late 1990s, there was considerable discussion of numerous large “constellations” of spacecraft in low Earth orbit (LEO) that would revolutionize the space industry, lower costs to launch payloads to orbit, and provide worldwide communications on an unprecedented scale. Approximately ten companies with names such as Iridium, Globalstar, and Teledesic each aimed to launch and operate groups of 12 to 840 satellites, potentially “darkening the skies” with spacecraft. Most of these systems either went bankrupt or never got off the ground, either literally or figuratively.

  • (Score: 2) by RedGreen on Tuesday February 04 2020, @09:59PM (1 child)

    by RedGreen (888) on Tuesday February 04 2020, @09:59PM (#953819)

    Good luck with that. If I am going with an idea like this I want rid of the parasites that are already in my area providing the service, not give them even more of my money again. So it will stand alone service I would be looking at.

    --
    "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05 2020, @02:52AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05 2020, @02:52AM (#954010)

      the parasites that are already in my area providing the service, not give them even more of my money again.

      But... but... 5G?! Not Huawei 5G, just pure and unadulterated American 5G! MAGA?!?
      Can't do 5G from satellites, you know?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05 2020, @04:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05 2020, @04:46PM (#954280)

    lol:
    "Our style is not confrontational." so that's code for we will also offer our services where the "state" insists on controlling all forms of communication, because citizens are forbidden to point a antenna towards the sky and send and receive data (without paying their cut to the state trol... err... functionaries).
    i suspect these states also sport a venn diagram where circles for "cannot point antenna at sky to receive data" and "point solid state device at sun and share electricity from it" are actually one and the same circle ...

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