London-based startup OneWeb is set to launch first six satellites in the multi-billion project pound to take internet to every corner of the globe.
The plans could eventually look at 2,000 spacecraft encircled.
Other companies also promise so-called megacellations. , but OneWeb thinks it has an advantage with an operating system.
Wednesday's launch on a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana is timed at 1
Checkers at OneWeb's HQ in the capital of the UK will wait to retrieve signals from the spacecraft as they exit the top of the Russian vehicle.
The most important platforms of the platforms are to secure the frequencies needed to forward the future network's Internet connections.
Assuming that this wizard works as expected, OneWeb will then start the mass display of the rest of the constellation towards the end of the year.
This will see Soyuz rockets launched every month and provide up to 36 satellites at a time.
To provide global internet coverage, there must be 648 units in orbit.
"We have a ton of spectrum, and we have it everywhere on Planet Earth," explained OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel.
"We're going to connect to many people who aren't connected. I'll start by focusing on connecting to the school's, connecting boats, connecting plans, and connecting big plans that don't make sense to fiber," he told the BBC News.
Who supports OneWeb?
The company was started by US telecom entrepreneur Greg Wyler.
He had previously founded another constellation called O3b, which stands for "second three billion" – a reference to that half of the planet without connection.
O3b operates a fleet of 16 satellites that move around the equator at a height of 8,000km.
OneWeb is Wyler's even greater vision – a much denser network that flies only 1200km above ground.
The proximity of the satellites, their high throughput – over a terabit per second across the constellation – and global coverage promise to transform the Internet supply for those who are currently subordinate, or just without serving.
At least it is the prospect shared by OneWeb's partners, including companies like chip maker Qualcomm, Virgin Richard's Virgin Group, drinking giant Coca-Cola, satellite communications specialist Hughes, and techfinancier SoftBank.
How big is a company this?
Solid. Satellite technology is much, much cheaper than it used to be, and the large number of satellites needed by the network reduces the unit cost.
Nevertheless, the spacecraft was shown by OneWeb partner Airbus has a price of about one million dollars.
When you add all the basic infrastructure needed to operate the system, the total cost goes over $ 3 billion.
Some previous satellite controls that attempted to build large constellations went up into the arc. Satphone companies such as Iridium and Globalstar exist only today because bankruptcy procedures relieved them of debt.
Several other groups have registered interest in competing with OneWeb, including the Elon Musk SpaceX company. Musk engineers even have a few satellites in orbit now to demonstrate technologies.
Commentators seem to be confident of just one thing: The market will not support all the proposed mega constellations.
What is the UK angle here?
OneWeb is based in West London. They actually use offices from the BBC. The company has about 70 employees now and expects to increase this to around 200.
HQ has a satellite control room, although this feature is also replicated in the United States.
Subsequent British governments have attempted to promote a business and regulatory environment that encourages space businesses to make Britain the home base – and they have succeeded, Mr Hr. Steckel.
"We believe that the UK Space Agency (UKSA) has done a fantastic job, looking at what OneWeb can be as disruptive to the satellite industry and in expanding usage cases (for our services)," he told BBC news.
"And they've worked with us, hand in hand, when it comes to going through the regulatory process. And they've been a great advocate."
UKSA spends significant amounts on satellite telecom R&D. This does so through its membership of the European Space Agency.
Esa is developing new technology that will hopefully keep European companies globally competitive. And UKSA has just put £ 18m into a program that would benefit OneWeb's later-generation spacecraft, especially in the way they interact and work with the ground-based 5G mobile networks that are now being created.
Isn't room already too crowded for this?
This is a hot topic. There is something that 2000 works satellites in orbit now, flying at different heights; and a slightly larger number of spacecraft that have ceased operation.
If more mega-constellations are launched, it will significantly increase the steep population – and experts have worried about the potential for collisions.
A recent study – sponsored by the European space company and supported by Airbus – found that the new networks had to clear their old, superfluous spacecraft within five years or risk increasing the likelihood of objects beating each other.
OneWeb says it has taken this message full on board. In fact, UKSA, as a licensor, has worked closely with the company to ensure that the old hardware comes out of the sky very quickly.
"All successful applicants for Outer Space Act licenses must comply with established best practices for safe and sustainable operations," a spokesman said.
"This includes reliable disposal of satellites, for example, by designing to minimize the potential for collisions and creation of roots."