OneWeb wants to do something pretty spectacular: It wants to bring internet access to the entire globe.
What’s even more impressive is how it’s going to do it: A vast constellation of over 600 satellites orbiting above us, beaming fast low-latency internet to anywhere on the planet.
Once completed it will be used to provide ‘broadband’ equivalent internet to schools, emergency services during disaster relief and create a fast internet service for airlines.
To accomplish this astonishing task it has teamed up with Airbus who have today, opened the factory where on two lines they will become one of the first companies to start mass-producing satellites.
Normally costing many millions of dollars and taking years of handmade work and testing, satellites have never really been built en-masse until now.
Airbus plans to use its custom-built production line to build 15 satellites every single week until launches start next year.
While 80 per cent of the work will still be carried out by humans, the remaining 20 per cent (almost all the testing) will be completed by a robot.
Examples include geo-location equipped robots that can screw in and test the bolts on each of the satellites, while heavy lifting robots and automated carts will help carry the satellites around the production floor.
If the thought of a small army of satellites being sent up into space has you worried about world domination/destruction then OneWeb has some contingencies in place to keep your mind at rest.
For starters they’ll be in a very low-orbit which is free of debris or other satellite networks. It will also be utilising the 7Ghz spectrum set aside by the UN for projects like this.
Finally at the end of their lives the satellites have been specifically designed to de-orbit and burn up in the atmosphere leaving no trace and presenting no risk to the ground below.