Noted space industry entrepreneur Greg Wyler (whose track record in this field includes founding the O3b and OneWeb projects) has secured seed funding of US$50 million for his next constellation aimed at bridging the digital divide. E-Space, of which Wyler is Founder and Chairman, announced its funding in February. The project is working with the Government of Rwanda which has secured the rights to a over 300,000 strong constellation to “democratize space”.
This constellation is intended to provide global communications services but with the idea of “space sustainability” at the core of the project. To this end E-Space intends to build its satellites entirely inhouse to help ensure the “100% demise” of its spacecraft upon Earth re-entry. The company is not expecting “mass production” of its satellites until 2023.
Later on the company announced that using some of its newly raised funding it had contracted with Rocket Lab to launch its first three demonstration satellites in Q2 2022, on 21 March. These spacecraft will reportedly be included on a rideshare mission Rocket Lab is planning in that timeframe. In E-Space terminology it refers to this mission as “Beta 1”. The company states that it is planning a second launch, “Beta 2” later in the year. It is unclear how many satellites will be part of this second mission or whether Rocket Lab will be launching this too.