Advanced Manufacturing

(Image courtesy: OneWeb via ESA-CNES-ARRIANESPACE/Optique video du CSF – S MARTIN)

OneWeb ramps up satellite production with new round of funding

Production will occur at the company’s new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida.

OneWeb has secured $1.25 billion in its latest funding round. The company, which seeks to deploy a satellite communication network by 2021 that will enable global high-speed, low-latency Internet access, has now raised a total of $3.4 billion to fund its mission. Tokyo-based Softbank Group Corp., Mexico’s Grupos Salinas, San Deigo-based Qualcomm Technologies Inc., and the Government of Rwanda led the last round of funding.

OneWeb’s will begin increasing its current stock of satellites, initially produced through a joint venture with Airbus, this spring at its new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida. Following the company’s successful launch of satellites on February 27, OneWeb will embark on the largest satellite launch campaign in history.

“This latest funding round, our largest to date, makes OneWeb’s service inevitable and is a vote of confidence from our core investor base in our business model and the OneWeb value proposition,” says Adrian Steckel, chief executive officer of OneWeb. 

 

 

“With the recent successful launch of our first six satellites, near-completion of our innovative satellite manufacturing facility with our partner Airbus, progress towards fully securing our ITU priority spectrum position, and the signing of our first customer contracts, OneWeb is moving from the planning and development stage to deployment of our full constellation. Our success is made possible thanks to the backing of our investors and the cooperation of our world class commercial partners including Arianespace, Airbus, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., Virgin, and Hughes,” continues Steckel.

 

Read more: Firefly Aerospace will provide launch capabilities for Airbus satellites

 

Starting late 2019, OneWeb will begin monthly launches of more than 30 satellites at a time, creating an initial constellation of 650 satellites to enable full global coverage. After this first phase, OneWeb will add more satellites to its constellation to meet the growing data demands from industries like 5G Internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous driving, aerospace, and others.

 

 (Image courtesy: OneWeb via ESA-CNES-ARRIANESPACE/Optique video du CSF – S MARTIN)

 

OneWeb’s priority rights to a large block of globally harmonized spectrum and its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation design will enable a truly global service, going beyond the limits of existing infrastructure, enabling connectivity for rural communities and schools as well as for business and industries that demand seamless global connectivity solutions. The company states that its customers will be able to develop and support a wide range of emerging applications that require real-time communication and collaboration.

 

Read more: Teledyne delivers microwave communication components for 900 OneWeb satellites

 

“I have worked for over 20 years to bring network access to people throughout Mexico and Latin America and have seen first-hand the power of connectivity to change and improve lives. OneWeb will have the ability to reach places that have previously been impossible to connect. We are proud to be supporting Adrian and the entire OneWeb team and are looking forward to creating new opportunities for people everywhere,” says Ricardo Salinas, founder and chairman of Grupo Salinas.

Greg Wyler, chairman and founder of OneWeb, adds “We are committed to bridging the digital divide, and this funding helps ensure our globally shared dream will soon become a reality. We look forward to continuing our work with the many supportive and forward-looking governments, [Internet service providers], and telecom operators to help them broaden the reach of connectivity to connect people everywhere.”

 

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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at william.kucinski@sae.org.