New partnership will use Airbus Group manufacturing capabilities to produce several satellites per day
15 June 2015 –OneWeb, Ltd. announced it is forming a Joint Venture with Airbus Defence and Space as the design and manufacturing partner for its fleet of telecom class microsatellites.
Airbus has put together ‘Team Airbus’ from throughout its operations in Airbus Group, including manufacturing engineers from the Airbus A350 production facilities and teams from Airbus Defence and Space to design the satellites production plans and to help accelerate the development of OneWeb.
OneWeb’s mission is to enable affordable Internet access for everyone, and it is on track to deliver by 2019. The OneWeb system incorporates many technologies from partners, many of which are embedded in its unique User Terminals, to build this global communications system, which, for the first time, will enable satellites to play a major role in mobile network expansion and small cell deployment.
OneWeb satellites will be produced in volume and have a mass less than 150kg each. With 900 satellites including spares prepared for its initial constellation, the system will bring more than 10 Terabits per second of new capacity to rural areas around the globe.
“Airbus Defence and Space, with more than 80 satellites in flight today, has one of the strongest technology teams in the industry for satellite development. We have been working side-by-side with OneWeb analyzing and supporting its system, components and manufacturability and are excited to be a partner in such an important mission. This presents a unique opportunity to redefine satellite production,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems at Airbus Defence and Space.
He added, “utilizing OneWeb’s priority access in the Ku band for exactly the purpose intended, Airbus and all of OneWeb’s partners have an opportunity to make a long-term impact on access to communications for those on the other side of the digital divide.”
The first 10 microsatellites will be designed and produced in facilities located in Toulouse, following which a dedicated plant in the United States will handle full series production.
“We have worked with Airbus Space and Defence, to streamline the manufacturing process to the point that several satellites can be produced each day. This will redefine the cost structure for satellites, enabling rapid iteration and development of space related technologies,” says Brian Holz, Head of Space Systems at OneWeb. “Our mission keeps us, Airbus, and all of our other stakeholders and excited supply chain partners focused to drive real progress.”
OneWeb’s mission is to enable affordable Internet access for everyone and is building a communications network with a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites that will provide connectivity to billions of people around the world. It will transparently extend the networks of mobile operators and ISP’s to serve new coverage areas, bringing voice and data access to consumers, businesses, schools, healthcare institutions and other end users.
Airbus Defence and Space
Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military. The new division is Europe’s number one defence and space enterprise, the second largest space business worldwide and among the top ten global defence enterprises. It employs more than 38,000 employees generating revenues of approximately €13 billion per year.
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