25 January 2019 News

OneWeb targets mid-February for launch of first satellites

Four of the OneWeb satellites before their transfer from Toulouse.
Four of the OneWeb satellites before their transfer from Toulouse.

The first launch in a long series for the OneWeb mega constellation is scheduled for 19 February 2019 on a Soyuz rocket after OneWeb Satellites announced this week the delivery of the first satellites for its mega constellation to the French Guiana launch site.

An Arianespace-operated Soyuz rocket will be launching the 150 kg satellites directly to their 1,200 km LEO (low Earth orbit) operating orbit. It was originally planned to carry 10 satellites on the first launch but the number was reduced to six in order to keep four as spares

OneWeb Satellites says it will now turn its focus to ramping up production of the full constellation of satellites at its new factory in Florida. “Our team is transforming the space industry and we are in the midst of demonstrating we can deliver on our promises,” said Tony Gingiss, CEO of OneWeb Satellites.

The company is a joint venture between OneWeb, a global communications company whose mission is to provide Internet to everybody, everywhere, and Airbus with its first order to include the production of ultra-high performance communications satellites.

These initial satellites were manufactured at the OneWeb Satellites facility on the Airbus Defence and Space Toulouse site in France. The site is being used to validate the innovative production methods necessary to manufacture these satellites at a scale never achieved before, de-risk any potential issues and lay the framework for the larger multi-line OneWeb Satellites factory close to the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

After the first satellites of the constellation launched, OneWeb plans to launch more than 30 satellites at a time on a monthly basis starting later in 2019 and will begin customer demos in 2020 with full 24-hour global coverage beginning in 2021.

"OneWeb has a bold vision to enable connectivity for everyone, everywhere. We have made tremendous progress in building our infrastructure on the ground, and the delivery of our first satellites brings us one step closer to our first launch and beginning to now build our system in space.

"One of many launches in 2019, we are excited to begin building our constellation and to see our services connecting people everywhere - by land, air, and sea," said OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel.

While you are here you might be interested in these articles from ‘ROOM’: Growth drivers, requirements and threats in the smallsat industry and Future Cubesat swarms pose significant communications challenges

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