Apple developing 'secret' satellite team: Report

A secret satellite team is apparently in the making at Apple as the company makes advances with developing wireless technology, people familiar with the project said in a report.

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The goal of the team is to help strengthen Apple's ability to beam data to its devices as the global race to 5G connectivity continues with China leading the way, but the project does not have a clear direction yet, according to Bloomberg, which cited those familiar with the plan.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has shown interest in the satellite plan and made it a top priority for the tech giant, Bloomberg reported.

The team is comprised of aerospace, satellite and antenna design engineers who hope to complete the satellite project in the next five years, and over the past year-and-a-half, Apple has hired a number of experts to help develop the project.

Apple hired Google's former head of spacecraft operations, John Fenwick, and head of satellite engineering, Michael Trela, who both worked for satellite imaging technology company Skybox Images before it was obtained by Google in 2014. The two are reportedly heading Apple's satellite team, Bloomberg noted.

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Apple did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.

Amazon and SpaceX have been taking on similar projects in a global effort to beam data from space to Earth. Amazon wants to launch 3,200 satellites into low orbit in an ambitious, "long-term" plan dubbed Project Kuiper to provide internet to 95 percent of the world, according to its website.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and CEO of Amazon, speaks about the future plans of Blue Origin during an address to attendees at Access Intelligence's SATELLITE 2017 conference in Washington. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

SpaceX in October asked the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for permission to launch 30,000 of its Starlink satellites into low orbit. The 30,000 satellites would come in addition to another 12,000 satellite already approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It plans to launch hundreds or even thousands of new satellites into space over the next year, SpaceNews reported.

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These various satellite projects could potentially harm smaller internet service providers (ISPs) across the country.

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