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OneWeb and Airbus create satellite construction joint venture

900 satellites are to be built for the OneWeb constellation 900 satellites are to be built for the OneWeb constellation

OneWeb, the satellite company aiming to build a global network of hundreds of satellites providing global internet access, has created a new joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space called OneWeb Satellites.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The new joint venture, equally owned by both parties, will design and build the 900 satellites in the OneWeb constellation which had already been agreed to be constructed by Airbus following an earlier announcement. The joint venture will be led by Brian Holz as CEO.

OneWeb Satellites will also be able to build satellites, platforms and equipment to be marketed by Airbus Defence and Space to other operators of future constellations, the companies said.

“Airbus is a key partner to our success as we move forward and are very happy to have them being a part of OneWeb and our new joint venture. We are benefiting from Airbus Defence and Space’s manufacturing and assembly knowledge as we look to initiate services,” said Matt O’Connell, CEO of OneWeb.

“As we build out the constellation, besides its very reliable satellite performance heritage and technical support, Airbus brings design for manufacturing capability into this operation which is key to achieving both our short term and long term goals for providing cost effective solutions on time for our future customers.”

OneWeb Satellites will undertake design activities for the entire OneWeb satellite fleet, with the manufacture of the first 10 flight models set to take place in France before moving to mass production in North America.

Each satellite will weigh less than 150 kg and will operate in low Earth orbit. They will be launched by Arianespace and Virgin Galactic starting from 2018 and reach their orbital positions using electrical propulsion.

“The next stage of the OneWeb adventure is here. On both sides of the Atlantic, our teams are now working under a common flag to meet the incredible challenge – to mass-produce 900 satellites for the OneWeb constellation,” said Eric Béranger, head of programmes, space systems, for Airbus.

“For several months now, we have been working on the design of this unprecedented constellation and how we are going to manufacture them – both ground-breaking in their own way.”

“The next step will be to set up a prototype line in Toulouse for production of the first 10 satellites. This will also be used to test the industrialisation method for the series production of the other satellites.”{/mprestriction}

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