Building the World

Building the Sky


Aurora Borealis, photographed by Expedition 30 crew aboard International Space Station, January 25, 2012. Image: NASA.

August 31, 1962: a star was born. COMSAT launched satellite communications, leading to what we now know as the Internet, beaming to what we now call cellphones. August 31, 2015: Airbus begins building first 10 of a 648 satellite network, also partnering with Virgin Group and Qualcomm, to launch OneWeb to bring the internet to the world’s underserved areas, or as founder Greg Wyler puts it, “the other 3 billion.” Greg Wyler‘s venture might take precedent notice of Motorola’s Iridium or Globalstar, and will challenge space ambitions of Google, Facebook, and SpaceX. One factor: Wyler already secured international wireless spectrum rights. If successful (operations may begin in 2018), OneWeb would assume macro leadership in the sky, being “larger than any other commercial space network by a factor of 10,” according to Jonathan Amos of the BBC. What kinds of international law should guide rights, building, and sharing of Space?

“The New Space Race,” Ashlee Vance, January 22, 2015,

‘Iridium: Failure to Launch’ in “The 10 Biggest Tech failures of the Last Decade,” 27/7 Wall Street, Time Magazine, Thursday May 14, 2009.,28804,1898610_1898625_1898640,00.html

“Cosmic International Law.” Modesto Seara Vazquaz, translated by Elaine Malley. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1965.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Skip to toolbar