TOKYO -- Inside Airbus' plant in the south of France, workers dressed in cleanroom suits are piecing together satellites by hand. The installation of each part represents a small step toward a giant communications leap -- a prospect that has attracted some of the biggest stars in business, from Richard Branson to SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son.
OneWeb, a U.S. startup founded by big dreamer Greg Wyler, plans to test-launch 10 of the satellites from French Guiana in March. If the testing goes well, the company intends to launch more over the course of two years at a pace of 36 satellites every 21 days. This will blanket Earth with a constellation of 720 -- 900 if you count reserve units.