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Virgin Galactic's plans for 'world's largest satellite constellation'

A graphic illustration the OneWeb satellite constellation Credit: Virgin Galactic/OneWeb Ltd

Sir Richard Branson has announced plans to launch the world's largest satellite network.

Writing in his blog, the billionaire behind Virgin Galactic said that his company has joined forces with OneWeb Ltd to create a "constellation" of satellites that will enable access to high speed internet and telephone lines for billions of people across the globe who don't currently have connections.

Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne programme will launch the satellites into space at a "much lower cost and with greater reliability" than conventional rockets, Branson said.

Sir Richard also claimed that "by the time our second constellation is developed, the company will have more launched more satellites than there currently are in the sky."

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space programme lost some of its momentum last year, when a SpaceShipTwo test flight disintegrated in mid-air above the Mohave Desert in November, killing one of the pilots.