Another Attempt at Satellite Mass Production

Iridium was one of the darlings of the New Space era of the 1990s. It was going to revolutionize communications by letting people talk around the world with one phone. The program broke new ground in satellite manufacturing, as almost 100 identical satellites were built to fly into space. Unfortunately, while the constellation was built, cellular networks took root around the world, and in combination with their $3 per minute talk cost, the system, putting it kindly, didn’t meet its expectations. An investor swooped in and purchased the whole system for pennies on the dollar, however, and has been operating the constellation with less flair, but enough profit to actually contract for a new generation of satellites. Orbital Sciences just announced that they’re going to start building that new constellation. This is all part of doing more space making space cheaper.

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