WorldVu Satellites Issues RFP for 640 Satellites

Greg Wyler
Greg Wyler

It looks like Greg Wyler and WorldVu are moving forward on its global broadband plan:

WorldVu Satellites Ltd., which has secured regulatory approval for the use of Ku-band spectrum in a non-geostationary-orbit constellation of hundreds of satellites for a global broadband Internet service, has issued requests for bids to satellite manufacturers for 640 125-kilogram satellites, industry officials said.

The system, which has been variously described as affiliated with Google and more recently with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. founder Elon Musk, is estimated to cost about $1.5 billion, including launch, for satellites that would each have 14 gigabits per second of throughput and orbit at 1,200 kilometers in altitude. The satellites would have a design life of seven years or more.

One official said the bid request asks for responses by mid-December and features a requirement that the prospective manufacturers agree to creating a joint-venture company in which WorldVu would co-own the satellite production facility.

“The idea behind this is that the way people build satellites today is not the way they should be built tomorrow,” this official said. “It’s true that the [profit] margins in the satellite manufacturing business stink. But there is a value in having full control of the design so that iterations could be made throughout the manufacturing process.”

Space News has the full story.

  • DavidR2014

    For 640 satellites launched, $1.5billion sounds like a bargain to me. I guess that’s what they are hoping for, rather than any offer they have received.
    1,200km is just inside the Inner Van Allen belt. So rad shielding may be required on these satellites.

  • resolute

    I feel like this is just all talk. WorldVu is just a start-up company with a loud mouth and no resume. And if they truly make substantial progress, it seems they’ll be going up against the likes of Google. Ambitious, but no.

  • windbourne

    Oddly, I think that the idea of approaching SpaceX was not only get cheap launches, but their trunk, with enhancements, and combined with ION or possibly kesstle engines, might work for their base unit.

  • mfck

    I guess the most important parts SpaceX might contribute to WV project is mass manufacturing of space grade hardware and spacecraft integration. Also, there are probably only a few Space companies that are compatible with ex-Google management style. I can’t imagine WV and, say, LM or Boeing understanding each other enough to move business forward. Now all we need is Altius Space Machines getting the contract ))

  • DavidR2014

    It may also be money related. Elon is a billionaire, and likely knows people who fund space companies, like Spacex’s investors. So it could be that WorldVu want him on board for the credibility he would bring, together with his money and contacts.

  • mfck

    What’s in it for Elon?

  • DavidR2014

    It would depend on how the deal was structured. Elon would negotiate this prior to agreeing to participate.

  • Vladislaw

    SpaceX launch financing has come from the EX IM bank for several foreign sat launches… World Vu is based in britain so those launches could be financed from the EX IM bank … France is currently trying to get the same kind of financing for launches.

    http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/42526ariane-6-coface-financing-dominate-french-space-meeting

  • mzungu

    Duurrr… If they are seeking RFP, then they are asking other people to build it for them, kind of rule out that “full control” thing, and add to the cost with a big chuck of profit that the builder will take/make…

  • windbourne

    World vu may be overseas, but before this is over, I suspect that elon will have moved it all to america.

  • Vladislaw

    If that happens then the EX – IM bank couldn’t finance launches.