South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk is no stranger to shaking things up in the technology space, as he is the brains (and money) behind the electric car brand Tesla, attempting to reach the outer rims of space with SpaceX and one of the co-founders of online pay service PayPal.
And it seems that Musk is now setting his sights on developing cheap, small satellites that will be able to deliver broadband to all the corners of the globe. While Musk hasn’t officially confirmed the plans yet, people in the know say that he is working with former Google executive Greg Wyler, who is also a satellite-industry veteran, and a founder of WorldVu, which owns a chunk of spectrum.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the pair is looking at launching around 700 of these low-cost, smaller satellites – which would make it about ten times larger than the biggest satellite constellation at the moment.
Noting in the agreement has been finalised, but there is speculation that Musk is pondering the idea of building a factory specifically to manufacture smaller satellites which are said to weigh about half of what a commercial satellites weighs.
“Building a plant and testing satellites is a lengthy process, and WorldVu needs to clear the use of spectrum with other operators. SpaceX may not have capacity to launch the satellites until the end of the decade, by which time WorldVu risks losing its spectrum,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.
Wyler is no stranger to internet-producing satellites, as he was part of the Google team that planned to launch 180 units that would have provided connectivity to “unwired regions of the globe.”
According to sources, Google’s project is going to cost about $1 billion, but Wyler left as he thought that the company didn’t have the right skills and manufacturing expertise to pull it off.[Source – Wall Street Journal, Image – CC by 2.0/Corevette]