OneWeb launched the first batch of satellites of an initial 650-satellite constellation in February 2019, and SpaceX also launched the first batch of its 12,000-satellite constellation in May 2019.
On July 8, Amazon also filed an application with the FCC for its planned satellite constellation with 3,236 satellites.
However, the unprecedently large scale of these megaconstellations also brings numerous challenges, some of which are hidden and not well-explored.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign identified a critical hidden challenge about replacing the broken satellites in megaconstellations and proposed a unique solution with inventory control methods.
In fact, it has become more and more like a ground logistics problem that FedEx or UPS has been working on.
So we tackled this megaconstellation maintenance problem leveraging the idea from ground logistics, which turns out to be not only unique and interesting but also very suitable in this context" said Koki Ho, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at U of I.