EXPLORATION PARK, Florida, USA, 19 April 2016 – OneWeb Satellites LLC prepares to break ground on its new estimated $85 million high volume satellite manufacturing factory in Exploration Park, Florida.
Announced during a ceremony with Florida Governor Rick Scott and OneWeb founder Greg Wyler, the factory near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is set to open in 2017, with delivery of initial satellites later that year or early the next. OneWeb Satellites is a joint venture between OneWeb, a satellite based internet provider, and Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company.
“This new facility is another step in the dream of enabling affordable internet access for the entire globe,” said Greg Wyler. “These satellites are truly state of the art as we have really pushed, but not exceeded, the limits of technology. With this new facility we will be able to iterate, update and continuously improve the satellites design and performance, and being right at the Space Center using Virgin Galactic we will be able to launch new satellites within hours of completion.”
The high volume satellite factory will be built in partnership with the State of Florida and Space Florida and is anticipated to create nearly 250 direct jobs. It will bring further growth and development to the world’s-leading space industry in Florida. The 100,000+-square-foot facility will be the industry’s first satellite factory designed to mass-produce spacecraft cost effectively using automated assembly and test capabilities similar to those used in aircraft production facilities.
Matt O’Connell, CEO OneWeb said: “This is an exciting day for OneWeb and brings us one large step closer to our goal of providing affordable broadband to the four billion people yet unconnected to the Internet. Florida and the Space Coast have been very supportive in arriving at a cost effective solution that will allow us to begin deploying our unprecedented constellation starting in 2018.”
The first 900 production satellites will weigh only 150 kg yet, have better performance than much larger communications satellites delivered today. The satellites will be used primarily by OneWeb for its global internet services, but the new low cost ultrahigh-performance satellites will be available for other commercial satellite operators and government customers. The satellites are well suited for many mission types and can be delivered on short schedules at significant costs savings compared to those available today.
“This facility will create a high-volume satellite manufacturing capability, enabling mass production with dramatically lower cost for the world’s newest communication satellite technology,” said Allan McArtor, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Group, Inc. “As the largest customer of American aerospace exports, Airbus spends over $16.5 billion per year in the U.S., supporting over 260,000 jobs. In addition, we manufacture commercial aircraft and helicopters in the U.S. We will be using our extensive experience in mass aerospace production to support this significant U.S. and global growth opportunity for Airbus.”
The factory will include state of the art automation, test equipment, and data acquisition capabilities to shorten assembly times and to provide means to analyse factory performance and improve processes. Local contractors in Florida will support the project and additional capability is expected to move into the region. This will be the first satellite manufacturing facility in Florida and the first in the US located in close proximity to a launch site.
Brian Holz, CEO of OneWeb Satellites said: “Florida is an excellent location for our high volume satellite manufacturing facility. The State of Florida and Space Florida really understood our business needs and gave us an outstanding offer to locate in Exploration Park. Our high volume satellite production uses many of the same technologies as aircraft production and Florida has become a center of excellence for both aviation and space related technologies. We will leverage much of the local aerospace capability expanding opportunity in the Space Coast region, and we also anticipate many of our suppliers to co-locate operations near our facility. The facility will be a big part of our ability to dramatically lower satellite costs for OneWeb and other customers as we grow our business.”
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About OneWeb Satellites
OneWeb Satellites is a joint venture, equally owned by OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space, to design and build the 900 satellites of the OneWeb constellation, which will offer high-speed internet with global coverage.
About OneWeb – www.oneweb.net
OneWeb’s mission is to enable affordable Internet access for everyone. OneWeb 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.
About Airbus Defence and Space – www.airbusdefenceandspace.com
Airbus Defence and Space, a division of Airbus Group, is Europe’s number one defence and space enterprise and the second largest space business worldwide. Its activities include space, military aircraft and related systems and services. It employs more than 38,000 people and in 2015 generated revenues of over 13 billion Euros.
About Space Florida
Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida’s position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida’s aerospace and spaceport development authority, we are committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive – and Space Florida is the perfect partner to help them succeed. www.spaceflorida.gov
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