Virgin to Create Worlds Largest Ever Satellite Constellation
Sir Richard Branson has announced that the Virgin backed OneWeb Ltd, will build, launch and operate the world’s largest ever satellite network. Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne programme will help make it possible with frequent satellite launches at a much lower cost and with greater reliability.
According to the International Telecommunications Union, as of the end of 2014, more than half the world’s population lacks internet access. OneWeb's new satellite constellation could dramatically improve that figure, bringing fresh opportunities to the billions of people who are currently held back by a lack of technology.
"People who don’t currently have access to proper teaching will be able to receive educations. People who want to create jobs will be able to develop new businesses connecting with the rest of the world. The opportunities are endless." says Branson.
LauncherOne in its most typical configuration will be capable of delivering as much as 225 kilograms (500 pounds) to a low inclination Low Earth Orbit or 120 kilograms (265 pounds) to a high-altitude Sun-Synchronous Orbit, for a price of less than $10M.
This is important news for the future of the Virgin's space programme, after a recent fatal crash that destroyed a suborbital rocket plane had raised questions about the future of Virgin Galactic.
The Virgin Group and Qualcomm Incorporated are the principle investors in OneWeb Ltd.