Since unveiling plans in January to build rival networks of hundreds, or even thousands, of Internet satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), SpaceX and OneWeb are prompting comparisons with past ventures that flopped, among them Teledesic and Skybridge, two well-financed start-ups whose visions of delivering high-speed broadband to the masses were thwarted by technical setbacks. But parallels are likewise being drawn with more contemporary ventures, notably O3b Networks based in Britain’s ...

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