Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023
Foxconn Launches First Satellites as Part of Space Internet Solution Plan

Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Foxconn has successfully launched its first pair of satellites. Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is primarily known for manufacturing iPhones for Apple, as well as servers and laptops for various brands. However, in recent years, the company has expanded into new markets such as electric cars.

One such market Foxconn has entered is satellites. In August, the company announced its plan to create a space internet solution, focusing on the Internet of Vehicles, smart cities, and beyond 5G communication infrastructure. To support this plan, Foxconn formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft to develop a low Earth orbit (LEO) global satellite system.

The company aims to utilize Azure Space services to link its contract manufacturing services and promote satellite system development in the countries where it operates. Essentially, it aims to provide a Starlink-like service to countries with Foxconn factories.

As part of its satellite capabilities testing, Foxconn built and launched two CubeSats named PEARL-1H and PEARL-1C. These satellites will demonstrate the company’s readiness to meet the increasing demand for key components and assembly integration in the new space industry.

The satellites were launched on SpaceX’s Transporter 9 mission, which carried a total of 90 payloads. As of now, 86 of the planned 89 deployments have been confirmed. The launch is considered a pilot run to prove the concept of LEO satellite broadband communications and next-gen capabilities beyond 5G.

Foxconn has also hired Exolaunch to manage its satellites. While browsing SpaceX’s website, it was noted that Elon Musk’s company has announced a second launch for its Starship and Super Heavy booster, tentatively scheduled for November 17, pending regulatory approval.

The first test flight of Starship ended in failure, but SpaceX has made several upgrades to improve the probability of success for future flights. The upcoming launch will feature various enhancements, including a hot-stage separation system, new electronic Thrust Vector Control system, and reinforced infrastructure.

The Starship, measuring 121 meters tall, has the capacity to carry up to 150 tonnes into orbit, with the potential for reusability. In configurations where the booster is not recovered, it can carry up to 250 tonnes. The test flight will be sub-orbital, with the booster landing in the Gulf of Mexico and Starship splashing down near Hawaii after approximately 90 minutes of travel.