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Artykuły o tematyce astronautycznej => Artykuły astronautyczne => Wątek zaczęty przez: Orionid w Luty 27, 2019, 23:15

Tytuł: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 27, 2019, 23:15
OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
by Peter B. de Selding — June 25, 2015

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/oneweb_strategic_partners_1023x692-879x485.jpeg)
OneWeb announced a roster of strategic partners June 25, 2015 that includes Bharti Enterprises, Coca-Cola, Intelsat, Hughes, Totalplay Telecommunications, and Virgin Galactic. Credit: Airbus Space and Defence via Twitter

WARSAW, Poland – Start-up satellite Internet provider OneWeb LLC, in a move that will quiet, if not silence its doubters, on June 25 announced that it had raised $500 million in equity from sources as varied as Indian telecommunications network provider Bharti Enterprises, Coca-Cola and cellular network operator Totalplay Telecommunications Inc. of Mexico.

“GEO and MEO and LEO systems can work together for this.” — OneWeb CEO Greg Wyler

The announcement in London also included the surprise inclusion of satellite fleet operator Intelsat of Luxembourg and McLean, Virginia, whose position as the world’s largest operator of Ku-band satellite capacity – OneWeb is using Ku-band from low Earth orbit – ostensibly makes it a potential OneWeb adversary.

Intelsat said that its relatively modest $25 million cash investment in OneWeb is part of a relationship in which Intelsat’s maritime and aeronautical customers will be able to use OneWeb satellites in areas where coverage is spotty.

The advantage for OneWeb is substantial. Its constellation of 648 satellites operating at 1,200 kilometers in Ku-band faces potential interference issues around the equator, and any interference would be resolved in favor of the established operators in geostationary orbit, like Intelsat.


(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Airbus_OneWeb_900-satellites_video-757x426.jpg)
OneWeb intends to cover the Earth with a constellation of more than 600 low-Earth-orbiting smallsats built by Airbus Defence and Space. Credit: Airbus video still

Standing on the Shoulders of Constellations Past

OneWeb’s regulatory license allows it to operate, but only on condition that its broadcasts do not bother Ku-band signals from satellites in higher orbit, which by virtue of being there for the past several decades have established priority with international regulators.

Standing on the shoulders of now-dead constellations of 15 years ago that successfully fought for low-orbiting constellations’ ability to coexist with the geostationary operators, OneWeb has committed to lower its power output around the equator to avoid interference.

With Intelsat now on board, OneWeb customers in the equatorial region will have the option of moving onto Intelsat’s Epic high-throughput satellites, as needed, to assure service in what might otherwise be a frequency-contested environment.


(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/OneWeb-Wyler-air-show.jpeg)
Greg Wyler (black shirt) talks with French President Francois Hollande June 15 at the Paris air show, surrounded by, among others, Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders and Airbus Chief Strategy Officer Marwan Lahoud. Credit: Airbus

OneWeb Chief Executive Greg Wyler, in a June 25 interview, said the company may strike similar arrangements with other established satellite fleet operators. The only other satellite operator with 50 geostationary satellites in its fleet is SES of Luxembourg, which is the leading investor in O3b Networks, a company with a constellation of medium-Earth-orbit Internet delivery satellites. O3b was founded by Wyler.

“We are not against GEO or MEO systems,” Wyler said. “The addition of Intelsat should demonstrate that. The idea is to get Internet out everywhere on the planet. GEO and MEO and LEO systems can work together for this.”

OneWeb also announced June 25 that the Arianespace consortium of Evry, France, would be the principal launch-service provider for OneWeb’s initial constellation.

Arianespace signed a contract with OneWeb for 21 launches aboard Russian Soyuz rockets, which Arianespace commercializes both at Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and at Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport on the northeast coast of South America.

In a conference call with journalists, Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel said Arianespace’s first OneWeb launch, in late 2017, will carry 10 OneWeb pilot satellites into orbit from the European spaceport.


(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CIWvQTBWsAEmNR2.jpg)

Cytuj
Stéphane Israël@arianespaceceo

 With #OneWeb CEO Greg Wyler and @richardbranson in London. I’m the only one with a tie, but Richard is changing that!
4:15 PM - Jun 25, 2015
Twitter (https://twitter.com/arianespaceceo/status/614089619588689920?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E614089619588689920&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fspacenews.com%2Fnews-analysis-onewebs-big-announcement-should-quiet-doubters%2F)

The remaining 20 Soyuz launches – the contract includes options for additional Soyuz rockets and the future Ariane 6 vehicle – will occur in 2018 and 2019, each carrying 32 OneWeb satellites. Israel said it’s likely that most of these will occur from the Baikonur launch base.

Israel decline to disclose the contract’s value beyond saying it was between $1 billion and $2 billion. A separate contract with OneWeb will cover design and construction of a dispenser to fit under the Soyuz rocket fairing to carry the OneWeb spacecraft into orbit and separate them.

OneWeb contracted with Virgin Galactic, a division of Virgin Group — an anchor investor in OneWeb — to use the LauncherOne rocket, now in development for 39 launch campaigns, each carrying between one and three satellites for constellation-maintenance duties.

In addition to Virgin, Bharti, Totalplay, Intelsat and Coca-Cola, the OneWeb investor lineup announced June 25 included:

• Airbus Group, which has an agreement with OneWeb —not yet a contract – to build 900 OneWeb satellites, most in the United States.

• Qualcomm Inc., the large U.S. chipmaker whose chip design will be used for OneWeb’s hubs and user terminals.

• Hughes Network Systems, a large satellite broadband terminal manufacturer.

Wyler said that with the satellite builder, launch-service providers and ground-system manufacturers now lined up, he is confident that OneWeb’s total capital cost will be in the previously estimated range of $2.5 billion to $3 billion.

Securing the first $500 million, Wyler said, means OneWeb — based in Britain’s Channel Islands — will not need a second round of funding until 2017.


Source: https://spacenews.com/news-analysis-onewebs-big-announcement-should-quiet-doubters/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:01
OneWeb gets $1.2 billion in SoftBank-led investment
by Caleb Henry — December 19, 2016 [SpaceNews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/index_879jpg-879x485.jpg)
Japan-based SoftBank led a $1.2 billion investment round in OneWeb, and has also become a strategic partner, with one of its directors, Ronald Fisher, joining OneWeb’s board of directors.

WASHINGTON – OneWeb has raised $1.2 billion in an investor round led by SoftBank, completing the non-debt financing the start up needs to build its satellite internet constellation.

Japan-based SoftBank invested $1 billion of the total $1.2 billion, and has also become a strategic partner, with one of its directors, Ronald Fisher, joining OneWeb’s board of directors.

Combined with the $500 million OneWeb raised in June 2015, the total amount gathered now stands at $1.7 billion out of an expected total cost of $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion for the full constellation of 900 small satellites.

OneWeb Founder Greg Wyler told SpaceNews that thanks to SoftBank, the company has raised more from investors than originally anticipated, allowing OneWeb to forgo a third investment round.

“The plan was that the $500 million raised in June of 2015 would last us about 18 months,” Wyler shared. “Then, in that time, we would raise another $500 million, and about a year after that we would raise another $500 million. With SoftBank we raised the B round and compressed the B and the C rounds together.”

Wyler said the company found the second round quickly oversubscribed. Conversations with SoftBank started only a few months ago. Wyler said OneWeb’s previous partners committed additional funding in this second round to reach the $1.2 billion total. Airbus Group, Intelsat, Bharti Enterprises,  Totalplay, Hughes Network Systems, Qualcomm, Coca-Cola Co., and the Virgin Group are all existing investors. Wyler did not name which partners contributed a second time, but said the second round fulfills all the capital OneWeb intends to gain from its equity investors.

“We planned for $1.5 billion in total funding, and we have exceeded that, so there are no current plans to go into the markets to raise more money,” he said.

To complete the system, OneWeb plans to use debt financing, Wyler said. After building the first 10 satellites in France, OneWeb plans to produce the rest in the United States, with parts also coming from Canada, the U.K. and elsewhere. With a presence in the U.S., France and Canada, OneWeb is positioned to tap export-credit financing from three export-credit agencies that have been supportive of satellite ventures in recent years.

In a Dec. 12 joint statement, SoftBank and OneWeb said the new capital will support the construction of a manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida, capable of churning out 15 satellites per week, and is expected to create nearly 3,000 new U.S. jobs in engineering, manufacturing and supporting roles over the next four years.

Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank said in the statement that the OneWeb investment is the beginning of greater investment in the U.S. following a recent meet up with President-elect Donald Trump.

“Earlier this month I met with President-Elect Trump and shared my commitment to investing and creating jobs in the U.S. This is the first step in that commitment. America has always been at the forefront of innovation and technological development and we are thrilled to be playing a part in continuing to drive that growth as we work to create a truly globally connected ecosystem,” Son said.

Wyler said the SoftBank investment does not constitute a commitment on OneWeb’s part to build or source materials for its constellation from Japan. However, given SoftBank’s portfolio of tech-companies, Wyler said OneWeb will be working with them “to learn and gain all the support we can.” SoftBank is the majority owner of U.S. mobile network Sprint, has shares in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and this summer acquired semiconductor company Arm Holdings for $32 billion.

Wyler said it is possible OneWeb could have all 900 satellites orbited by 2020. Initial services would start around 300 satellites, he said.

Wyler said it was SoftBank’s resonance with the vision of OneWeb that sparked the billion-dollar investment. Son, he said, “believed in the need for global internet access, global knowledge infrastructure, the mission of connecting every school by 2022 and the excitement for bridging the digital divide.

He said OneWeb also gave itself a deadline recently for connecting what is now, based on International Telecommunication Union numbers from the UN agency’s ICT Facts & Figures 2016 report, the almost four billion people that lack access to the internet.

“By 2027, we want to fully bridge the digital divide,” Wyler said. “That is an incredibly difficult goal, but we believe we have a path that will take us there.”

Once complete, OneWeb expects its constellation to provide more than 10 terabits per second of new capacity, supporting 2G to 5G communications and Wi-Fi.


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-gets-1-2-billion-in-softbank-led-investment/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:01
OneWeb weighing 2,000 more satellites
by Tereza Pultarova and Caleb Henry — February 24, 2017 [SpaceNews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Greg-Wyler-03-879x485.jpg)
OneWeb founder Greg Wyler during a Nov. 10, 2015 interview with SpaceNews Silicon Valley correspondent Debra Werner. Credit: SpaceNews

“We are adding 2,000 satellites at different altitudes in low Earth orbit,” Wyler told SpaceNews in London. “We have priority rights to another 2,000 satellites — 1,972 satellites, to be precise."
LONDON and WASHINGTON — Satellite telecom startup OneWeb, emboldened by the oversubscribed $1.2 billion Softbank-led investment gained in December, is on the verge of adding another 2,000 satellites to its previously proposed constellation of several hundred satellites.

OneWeb made a big splash in June 2015 when it went public with an impressive roster of investors pledging some $500 million to deploy more than 600 small, low-orbiting satellites to blanket the Earth in Ku-band broadband connectivity.

On Wednesday, Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s founder and executive chairman, told an audience at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London that the company has sold a considerable portion of the capacity of its initial planned constellation and is seriously considering quadrupling its size.

“We are adding 2,000 satellites at different altitudes in low Earth orbit,” Wyler told SpaceNews in London. “We have priority rights to another 2,000 satellites — 1,972 satellites, to be precise. With Softbank we have reinvigorated our activities and started talking about the strong possibility that we will be adding to the constellation using our priority rights.”

The expansion plans materialized after Japanese mogul Masyoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank, jumped on board with a $1 billion investment. Previous investors committed to an additional $200 million, bringing OneWeb’s total capital raised to $1.7 billion. 

“[Son] has really put the throttles full-forward when it comes to our mission of bridging the digital divide globally by 2027,” Wyler said in London.

“We are not talking about it yet, but we will start talking about it soon. You will hear about some great launch scale step function changes to our plans and improvements,” the 47-year-old entrepreneur continued. “We are really looking at many new things. You will see some more satellites in a few places that you wouldn’t expect.”

In addition to its official focus on connecting the world’s four billion unconnected citizens to the world wide web by the end of the next decade, OneWeb is eyeing the nascent Internet of Things sector, connected cars and in-flight connectivity.

Adding 1,972 satellites to OneWeb’s previously announced 648 puts the total constellation at 2,620. In a telephone interview with SpaceNews on Thursday evening, Wyler said OneWeb is very actively considering this level of expansion, but was less committal than at the London event.

“We always had this as a possibility,” he said. “What we are doing is really difficult. Our team has made tremendous progress. When looking at some of the accomplishments that have become real and validated over the past several months, we’ve been strongly encouraged that this next phase should be accelerated. Our shareholders are pushing us hard to accelerate because the interest in demand and in the need to accomplish our mission is quite pressing.”

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/OneWeb-aerial-factory-e1467898901119.jpg)
Artist’s rendering of the factory OneWeb Satellites is building in Exploration Park, Florida. Credit: OneWeb

The first 10 OneWeb spacecraft are scheduled to launch about a year from now on a Europeanized Soyuz rocket from Arianespace. Those, Wyler said, will provide service as part of the full constellation.

In London, Wyler also suggested that although the company hasn’t formally announced having sold any capacity — save perhaps Gogo’s March 2016 deal with Intelsat for combined geostationary and LEO capacity — that demand from the world’s telecommunications operators is strong. When asked how much capacity he expects to have sold by the time the initial constellation launches, he replied: “all of it.”

Speaking by phone Thursday night, Wyler said the decision on whether to quadruple the size of the OneWeb constellation will be made before the end of the year.

“I don’t want to say we are definitely doing it, but I can say that we are very strongly considering it, and based upon our priority rights, we have always had this as a possibility,” he said. “Our first system has 1.5 to 2 terabits of forward capacity, and we will be very substantially increasing that.”


SpaceNews staff writer Caleb Henry contributed from Washington.

Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-weighing-2000-more-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:01
OneWeb breaks ground on a Florida factory that will build thousands of satellites
by Caleb Henry — March 16, 2017 [SpaceNews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/C7EI8LAVoAAb5dJ-879x485.jpg)
Representatives from OneWeb Satellites and its partners broke ground March 16 on the location for OneWeb Satellite's future factory in Florida. Credit: Airbus

WASHINGTON — OneWeb Satellites, the joint venture between rising satellite operator OneWeb and manufacturing giant Airbus, broke ground March 16 on a dedicated factory that will build thousands of OneWeb satellites instead of the hundreds originally envisioned.

OneWeb Satellites Chief Executive Brian Holz said the $85 million Exploration Park, Florida, facility — which is scheduled to open a year from now — will go above and beyond the initial 900-satellite contract OneWeb placed in January last year.

“We’ll produce over 2,000 satellites largely to be flown in LEO, low-Earth orbit, to be a key kingpin in that architecture,” Holz said during the ceremony. “That’s going to allow us the foundation, with new automation techniques, to lower the cost of satellite delivery, and also shorten the schedules for our customer and create value that is not in the industry today.”

OneWeb Founder Greg Wyler tipped his hand regarding OneWeb’s bigger constellation plan in February, telling an audience in London and later affirming to SpaceNews that the company was actively weighing about 2,000 satellites on top of the initially announced 648. Since then, OneWeb has described its initial “gen-1” constellation as 882 satellites, and filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for permission to serve the U.S. market with 2,000 more satellites split between LEO and medium-Earth orbit.

OneWeb Satellites claims the Florida factory  will be able to produce up to three satellites per day. In a March 16 interview with SpaceNews, Mike Cosentino, president of Airbus Defense and Space Inc., expressed confidence that the joint venture will be able to meet this production rate.

“Once we have the manufacturing processes down, once we have the suppliers lined up and the schedule validated, then we will operate in the same fashion as any high-assembly product does. It hasn’t happened with a satellite, but there is no reason we can’t do it with a satellite if you do it with airplanes and automobiles,” he said.


(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Project_Rendering_for_ARC_Review44519-e1489699657751.jpg)
Digital rendering of OneWeb Satellites’ Florida manufacturing plant. Credit: OneWeb Satellites

The first 10 satellites for the overall constellation are planned for construction at an Airbus facility in Toulouse, France. Cosentino said reaching the three-a-day production rate is just as much about the design of the satellites as it is the factory. OneWeb Satellites will validate the production methods in Toulouse and replicate the process in Florida. Each spacecraft will be about the size of a washing machine, he said.

OneWeb Satellites’ Florida factory, like Blue Origin’s launcher factory, is being built just outside the gates of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. In a March 16 statement, Wyler said the facility will enable OneWeb “to continuously iterate on the design of our satellites, launch new satellites within hours of completion and create significant opportunity in the U.S.”

Most of OneWeb’s spacecraft are contracted to launch on Arianespace-provided Europeanized Soyuz rockets, but some will launch on two rockets still in development: Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne air-launch system and Blue Origin’s reusable New Glenn rocket.

OneWeb Satellites’ main customer is OneWeb, but the company is not exclusively bound to build satellites for OneWeb alone. The company said it could be ready to build satellites for commercial and government customers in 2018. OneWeb’s first-generation constellation is expected to start launches that year.

Not including subcontractors, OneWeb Satellites anticipates the Florida factory will create around 250 new jobs, bringing employment opportunities to a region still feeling the effects of the 2011 shutdown of NASA space shuttle program. The company expects to create thousands of more jobs — though not all in Florida — through its supplier base. Many of those suppliers are likely to set up locations of their own in Florida to keep pace with OneWeb Satellites’ demand. Holz said component manufacturer Ruag Space, based in Switzerland, is bringing about 50 jobs to Florida related to OneWeb.

Holz said OneWeb Satellites will provide connectivity to a school in Brevard County, Florida, linking the academic institution with another school in Toulouse as a recognition of the company’s vision of connecting 2 million schools around the world. Once OneWeb’s own satellites are in orbit, he said the connection would switch to using that system.

OneWeb has the goal of bridging the digital divide by 2025, and has affirmed that goal has not changed with its pending merger (https://spacenews.com/intelsat-gets-oneweb-merger-agreement-contingent-on-debt-swap-softbank-investment/) with global geostationary satellite operator Intelsat.


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-breaks-ground-on-a-florida-factory-that-will-build-thousands-of-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:02
OneWeb Satellites to keep Toulouse factory open for other customers
by Caleb Henry — September 12, 2017 [Spacenews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/OneWeb-Inauguration-FAL-TLS-3-c-Dominique-Eskenazi-879x485.jpg)
OneWeb Satellite's first production facility in Toulouse, France. Credit: OneWeb Satellites/Dominique Eskenazi.

The OneWeb-Airbus joint venture tasked with building 900 satellites for OneWeb plans to keep its first production line in France running to build satellites for other operators.

OneWeb Satellites is building the first 10 small satellites for OneWeb’s low-Earth orbit broadband constellation in Toulouse, France, before shifting production of the majority of the constellation to a new $85 million factory in Exploration Park, Florida.

But rather than let the infrastructure in France lay idle, OneWeb Satellites wants to repurpose the factory to build more small satellites.

“We always intended to maintain the line in Toulouse as long as we can,” Brian Holz, CEO of OneWeb Satellites, told SpaceNews. “Besides OneWeb, we are hoping to utilize the product in other markets. We will have the Florida lines up and running in the spring next year, and we will use Toulouse for some initial customers outside of OneWeb to begin selling those products.”

Holz said other customers are interested in using OneWeb Satellite’s production volume in Toulouse for constellation projects of their own. He described the market as “very robust.”

“I think it’s going to be really exciting when we get into next year,” he said. “You’ll see some other customers coming online soon.”

OneWeb and Airbus created the joint venture with the ability to build satellites for other companies and organizations besides OneWeb, but so far no other customers have been announced. Holz said prospective customers have an interest in multiple mission types beyond telecommunications.

OneWeb Satellites will build other satellites roughly the same size as the 150-kilogram satellites under construction for OneWeb. Some designs may grow slightly larger, but OneWeb Satellites doesn’t intend to build much smaller than that.

“We won’t do everything. We are a certain size spacecraft with a certain capability and we can tweak some of the parameters a little bit. It’s not everything for everybody, but there are some very interesting things we can do,” he said.

OneWeb’s first launch is scheduled for March 2018 on a Soyuz rocket from Arianespace. Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s founder, said in June that the first production satellites from Toulouse should be leaving the factory for Arianespace’s  Kourou, French Guiana, launch site in October. Additional Soyuz launches are to ramp up after March in order for OneWeb to start operational service in 2019. Each Soyuz launch is to carry 32 satellites.

“We will also use Toulouse as a production risk mitigation to Florida,” Holz added. “If we have interruptions in production for whatever reason, or we need to ramp the rate, Toulouse will allow us to do that.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-satellites-to-keep-toulouse-factory-open-for-other-customers/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:02
OneWeb shifts first launch to year’s end
by Caleb Henry — May 1, 2018 [SpaceNews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/OW_Satellite_50-879x485.jpg)
One of OneWeb's first satellites, built in Toulouse, France by its Airbus joint venture OneWeb Satellites. Credit: OneWeb

WASHINGTON — OneWeb has shifted the debut launch for its satellite megaconstellation to the fourth quarter of the year.

The startup’s first launch of 10 satellites aboard an Arianespace Soyuz rocket was scheduled for this month, but was pushed out toward the end of the year to allow for more testing and to incorporate improved components in the final spacecraft design.

“Our production launches will start in Q4,” Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s founder, told SpaceNews. “We decided to continue with more ground testing and then go right into production because we can test virtually everything we need on the ground.”

OneWeb is building the first 900 satellites of its constellation through a joint venture with Airbus called OneWeb Satellites. Wyler said the decision to delay was “based on which component revisions were available.”

Backed by SoftBank, Intelsat, Coca-Cola and other investors, OneWeb is creating a constellation of small telecom satellites with the goal of making the internet accessible to everyone on Earth by 2027. How many satellites exactly is still to be determined — OneWeb in March asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to expand its authorization from 720 to 1,980 Ku-band satellites. The company still expects to begin service in 2019, starting with the first few hundred spacecraft.

“As long as we begin our production launches this year we are still on schedule,” Wyler said.

Arianespace is launching the bulk of OneWeb’s first generation constellation, and has 21 Soyuz launches contracted, along with options for more with Soyuz and the next generation Ariane 6. In a January interview, Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel was noncommittal on how many OneWeb Soyuz launches the company would do this year, saying it would “launch at least once for OneWeb this year and maybe more.”

“There is a saying commonly used in engineering: ‘the perfect is the enemy of the good,’” Wyler said. “There are always margins that you could increase with more testing and design modifications. We are using this time to increase our margins and also implement some improvements. We didn’t absolutely need to do everything we are doing, but after internal discussion, we are taking advantage of the timing opportunity to iterate.”

Since OneWeb’s first launch will only have 10 satellites onboard, the rocket will travel straight to their 1,200-kilometer low Earth orbit instead of the 500-kilometer drop off planned for subsequent flights, Wyler said. The near-direct insert cuts a few months of orbit raising time that would have relied on each satellite’s internal propulsion.

Wyler estimated there might be a two month gap between the first launch and the rest of the launch campaign, which consists of a Soyuz launch every 21 days. After the first launch, each Soyuz will carry 36 satellites, with some occasionally carrying 34, he said.

OneWeb also has a contract with Virgin Orbit for 39 LauncherOne missions and a memorandum of understanding with Blue Origin for five New Glenn launches to supplement its primary Arianespace campaign. Neither of those vehicles are launching yet, however.

Wyler said OneWeb’s first generation satellites have “actually beat our plans,” on mass, weighing in at around 145 kilograms each instead of the projected 150 kilograms.

“We are at about 14.5 kilograms per Gbps. Each satellite is about the same performance as the satellites I designed for O3b, yet we are putting nine times as many on a rocket,” he said.

Prior to OneWeb, Wyler founded O3b Networks, a company since bought by Luxembourgian fleet operator SES, that provides connectivity services through a constellation of medium-Earth-orbit satellites. Wyler said each OneWeb satellite provides nine times as much throughput per kilogram as an original O3b satellite.

“Our next generation, which we are working on now, will see at least a 15X increase in performance,” he said.


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-shifts-first-launch-to-years-end/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:02
Amid concerns, OneWeb gets vague about constellation’s cost
by Caleb Henry and Brian Berger — September 12, 2018 [SpaceNews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Eric-Beranger-WSBW-2018-879x485.jpg)
Eric Béranger relinquished his role as chief executive of OneWeb last week, splitting responsibilities with the company’s new CEO Adrian Steckel (SpaceNews/Brian Berger)

PARIS — As OneWeb strives to complete the financing of its satellite megaconstellation, the company has stopped affirming the cost targets envisioned when the program began.

OneWeb in 2015 set the goal of building 900 satellites for $500,000 each or less, with the total estimated cost of building, launching and operating the constellation at $3.5 billion.

Speaking Sept. 11 at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week conference here, OneWeb President and Chief Operating Officer Eric Béranger refused to affirm satellite unit costs or total program costs despite industry speculation that both have grown well beyond the starting estimates.

“We do not communicate about the overall cost of system,” Béranger said during a panel discussion focused on non-geostationary-orbiting satellite constellations.

Asked by SpaceNews if the satellites could still come in under $500,000 each, Béranger said only that they were now “below $1 million” per unit.

Industry analysts who follow OneWeb said as recently as August that OneWeb is looking at roughly $700,000 to $900,000 per satellite once serial production begins at a brand-new $85 million factory in Exploration Park, Florida. OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space, is building the first 10 satellites in Toulouse, France. Those initial satellites are due to launch in December or early 2019 depending on Soyuz launch availability with Arianespace.

“There has been widespread industry skepticism about that $500,000 number for a long time,” said a financial analyst and long-time industry observer here. “The problem is that once they publicly announce that the price has increased, they lose credibility with potential investors…hence the hedging. Eventually the truth comes out.”


“A hell of a job”

If OneWeb was already causing heartburn across the industry, events of the past week have not helped matters.

On Sept. 7, as top space executives were headed here for the World Satellite Business Week’s annual Summit on Satellite Financing, OneWeb announced that Béranger relinquished his role as chief executive of OneWeb last week, splitting responsibilities with the company’s new CEO Adrian Steckel.

Steckel’s prior employer, Uphold, described OneWeb as a “$6B Global Satellite Broadband Effort” in a Sept. 7 press release (https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/oneweb-taps-uphold-ceo-adrian-steckel-to-run-its-6b-global-satellite-broadband-effort-2018-09-07) announcing his departure from the digital currency company he co-founded. OneWeb spokesperson Katie Dowd told SpaceNews Sept. 8 that the $6 billion figure Uphold referenced was not accurate. A corrected press release (https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180907005059/en/CORRECTING-REPLACING-Uphold-Promotes-Visionary-Co-Founder-JP) Uphold issued Sept. 9 omitted any mention of OneWeb’s projected price tag.

Steckel is OneWeb’s fourth CEO in as many years. Béranger said funding was at the center of OneWeb’s most recent management shakeup, allowing him to focus on building the company while Steckel pursues additional financing.

“To be honest, I am very happy to see [Steckel] coming because between the road shows and building the company, it’s such a hectic period,” Béranger said. “It is quite a hell of a job.”


Case closed?

OneWeb has raised $1.7 billion in equity since 2015, with Japanese tech giant SoftBank providing $1 billion of that total. After closing a SoftBank-led round in late 2016, OneWeb said it would finish the rest of its financing needs by borrowing money. Some 21 months later, the company has not revealed any debt financing.

OneWeb has suppliers and manufacturing partners in the United States, France and Canada, the three countries with export-credit agencies known for their participation in satellite financing.

In the U.S., the Export-Import Bank has lacked enough board members for a quorum since July  2015 and consequently remains unable to approve projects over $10 million. President Donald Trump’s latest nominee to head the bank, Kimberly Reed, is still awaiting Senate confirmation.

Meanwhile, BPI France, formerly Coface, has expressed reservations about whether OneWeb’s satellites will have enough French content to justify its support. After building the first 10 in Toulouse, OneWeb intends to shift production to its new Florida factory.

In Paris, Béranger put a brave face on OneWeb’s outlook, saying the company has a “huge pipeline” with hundreds of prospective customers that are “extremely eager to see us up and running.”


Although OneWeb’s initial launch has slipped from the May target it held as the year began, the company still expects to have its first spacecraft orbit within the next few months or so.

“All of this is giving us an extremely good feeling in terms of closing our business case,” he said.


Source: https://spacenews.com/amid-concerns-oneweb-gets-vague-about-constellations-cost/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:03
OneWeb scales back baseline constellation by 300 satellites
by Caleb Henry — December 13, 2018 [SpaceNews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/OW_Satellite_50-879x485.jpg)
One of OneWeb's first satellites, built in Toulouse, France by its Airbus joint venture OneWeb Satellites. Credit: OneWeb

WASHINGTON — Satellite broadband startup OneWeb, now three months from the launch of its first satellites, is reducing the size of its initial low Earth orbit constellation by a third.

Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s founder, said the company will need only 600 satellites or so instead of 900 after ground tests of the first satellites demonstrated better than expected performance.

“What it does is it lowers the cost structure to reach that first phase of global coverage,” Wyler said in a Dec. 13 interview. “Rarely do you see costs go down, so it’s a pretty big deal.”

OneWeb had been under increased scrutiny within the satellite industry amid speculation that its satellite costs had grown well beyond their initial $500,000 target. Wyler confirmed the satellites had passed $500,000 a unit, but said the exceedance was minimal.

“It is higher than the goal, but it’s significantly lower than where things would have been predicted three years ago,” he said.

Wyler said OneWeb has added back ups for all major components on the satellites, including redundant computers and four reaction wheels per satellite, to improve the reliability of each spacecraft. OneWeb is building its satellites through a joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space.

Wyler declined to quantify how much less the OneWeb constellation will cost at 600 satellites, or to state the full expected cost of the system. OneWeb officials have stated that the satellites are below $1 million each, but have avoided greater specificity.

OneWeb has raised $1.7 billion to date from investors including Japanese conglomerate Softbank, fleet operator Intelsat and soft drink giant Coca-Cola. The heavily capitalized startup is seeking to raise the rest of its needs — at least several hundred million dollars if not over a billion based on previous estimates —  through export credit agencies, though little progress has been visible since the last equity raise in late 2016.

Wyler said OneWeb “continue[s ] to work with the ECAs” and is “very positive” about the process, but declined to give further details.

“OneWeb clearly needs to ensure that its initial constellation is financeable,” Tim Farrar, president of the telecom analyst group TMF Associates, said by email. “That will be easier if overall system costs can be cut by building fewer satellites.”

Adrian Steckel, OneWeb’s new CEO, first mentioned the constellation modification Dec. 12 at the Morgan Stanley Space Summit in New York City, an event that was closed to press.

Farrar said Steckel also indicated that OneWeb’s initial priority would be connecting boats and planes before focusing on internet for the masses.

“It seems likely that these customers would use larger, more powerful terminals compared to a low cost consumer terminal. Thus the overall link performance would be improved and there would be more available capacity per satellite, offsetting any reduction in the number of satellites initially deployed,” Farrar said.

Wyler said 600 is the minimum needed for global coverage. Beyond that, OneWeb is deciding whether it will add 300 first-generation satellites or shift to a second-generation constellation designed to layer on more capacity.

“Our plan is we are first building out for coverage so everyone can have high-speed, low-latency access, and then we have a second generation of satellites which is more focused on capacity, but the capacity will be dynamically placed to the areas where there are customer aggregations with needs for bandwidth,” Wyler said. “Ultimately the system will be extremely large and extremely high in total throughput.”

Wyler said he has “high hopes” that OneWeb will begin service next year, but admitted the service could slip to 2020.

OneWeb’s first 10 satellites launch in February on an Arianespace Soyuz from French Guiana. Arianespace has a contract to launch the bulk of OneWeb’s constellation on another 20 Soyuz rockets.


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-scales-back-constellation-by-300-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:03
Arianespace targets 12 launches this year, more counting OneWeb, Vega C debut
by Caleb Henry — January 15, 2019 [SpaceNews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/12-19-2018-VS20-lg-879x485.jpg)
Arianespace's final launch count for 2019 could be much higher than initial forecasts depending on how many Soyuz launches it conducts for OneWeb. Credit: Arianespace

WASHINGTON — European launch provider Arianespace is planning to conduct a record number of Vega launches this year, and, if OneWeb is ready, a return to launching from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Stéphane Israël, CEO of Evry, France-based Arianespace, said the company has four launches of the light-lift Vega rocket planned for this year, plus the maiden flight of the next-generation Vega C.

Arianespace’s first mission of the year is an Ariane 5 launch on Feb. 5. The rocket will carry two satellites — Arabsat’s Saudi GeoSat-1/Hellas Sat-4 and the Indian space agency ISRO’s GSAT-31 — to geostationary transfer orbit.

All five Ariane 5 missions planned for this year will carry two satellites, as is customary, Israël said in an interview.

Israël said Arianespace has three firm Soyuz launches on its 2019 manifest, starting mid-February with the launch of 10 small telecom satellites for internet megaconstellation startup OneWeb. Israël said the second Soyuz launch is in March with four O3b satellites for fleet operator SES of Luxembourg. The third is a fall dual launch with the European Space Agency’s CHEOPs exoplanet telescope and the Italian Space Agency’s Cosmo-Skymed radar satellite.

Israël said those three Soyuz launches will take place from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana where Arianespace also launches the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and light-lift Vega rockets.

For OneWeb, Arianespace is returning to Baikonur for the first time since a 2013 Soyuz launch for Globalstar. Arianespace, upon winning the OneWeb launch contract in 2015 for 21 Soyuz missions, said then that most of those missions would take place in Baikonur (https://spacenews.com/launch-options-were-key-to-arianespaces-oneweb-win/) so that the Guiana Space Center could be prioritized for European government missions.

“We are ready for launching in the second part of the year the OneWeb satellites,” Israël said. “The number of launches would depend on the readiness of the satellites.”

Israël said the Soyuz rockets for OneWeb are ready, and that Arianespace will be able to meet OneWeb’s fast-paced cadence of one launch every three weeks so long as OneWeb provides the satellites.

Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s founder, said the company is ready for the first launch and anticipates having around 150 satellites in orbit by the end of the year.

OneWeb plans on starting service with around 300 satellites, and having full, global coverage with 600 satellites.

Arianespace has four Vega launches this year, not counting the Vega C debut: two Falcon Eye Earth-observation satellites for the United Arab Emirates, the Italian Space Agency’s Prisma Earth-observation satellite, and the proof-of-concept launch of the Small Spacecraft Mission System (https://spacenews.com/vegas-long-awaited-small-successes/).

The Italian Space Agency’s Prisma satellite was planned for a 2018 launch, but was pushed out to this year by delays with the European Space Agency’s Aeolus wind-mapping satellite, which launched on a Vega in August.

Israël said Arianespace wants to launch three to four Vega rockets annually now that the launcher, commercially introduced in 2012, has cemented its place in the small-satellite market.

Israël said Arianespace will soon need to discuss an additional Vega production order with Avio of Colleferro, Italy. Arianespace’s last Vega launch of 2019 will use the first of 10 rockets ordered in 2017.

Those 10 Vega rockets — a mix of Vega and Vega C that Israël declined to quantify — should last until 2021 or the beginning of 2022, he said.

Arianespace recorded 1.4 billion euros in revenue for 2018, roughly the same as in 2017 and 2016. Israël said the company expects to break even, but is still tallying its overall financial performance.

Last year Arianespace launched 11 times — six Ariane 5, three Soyuz and two Vega — equal to the year prior but three less than anticipated. The three missions that didn’t take place in 2018 — the Arabsat-ISRO Ariane 5, OneWeb’s first Soyuz and the Italian Space Agency’s Vega launch of Prisma — are all on Arianespace’s manifest this year.


Source: https://spacenews.com/arianespace-targets-12-launches-this-year-more-counting-oneweb-vega-c-debut/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:03
Wyler claims breakthrough in low-cost antenna for OneWeb, other satellite systems
by Caleb Henry — January 25, 2019 [SpaceNews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/DwP-V-zWoAMi-6z-879x485.jpg)
Greg Wyler put nearly $10 million into a company called Wafer that has produced a $15 antenna unit. Full user terminals, when completed, could be priced between $200 and $300. Credit: Greg Wyler

WASHINGTON — OneWeb founder Greg Wyler says a self-funded side project of his has developed an antenna module costing $15, paving the way for user terminals priced between $200 and $300.

Wyler, in an interview, said he invested just under $10 million into Wafer LLC, a Danvers, Massachusetts-based company that has created a prototype antenna. After three to four years of effort and more than 500 iterations, the antenna could be commercially available as soon as 2020, he said.

“I knew it was a long shot,” Wyler said. “[But] I knew how important it would be to bridging the digital divide.”

OneWeb’s first six satellites launch Feb. 19  from French Guiana on an Arianespace-operated Soyuz. For large constellations such as OneWeb’s system of 600 to 900 satellites to succeed, high-tech antennas that can track multiple satellites at once are viewed as all but essential.

“They are vital,” Dimitris Mavrakis, an ABI Research analyst covering antennas, told SpaceNews by email.

Constellations in low and medium Earth orbits, unlike geostationary satellites, move across the sky. Keeping in contact with such satellites requires ground terminals capable of tracking the satellites, either by mechanically repositioning a dish or using a stationary antenna that uses so-called electronic steering, or scanning, to maintain the connection.

Wyler said a team of just over 20 people at Wafer have been working on the electronically scanned antenna arrays that would work with OneWeb satellites and other constellations. He said it is still to be determined if Wafer will build the entire user terminal, or just the antenna module.

“The key technology is the antenna,” he said. “You pack that with a modem and a battery, and you have a terminal.”

OneWeb investor Qualcomm is building modems for OneWeb user terminals.

Wyler described the antenna as the “critical and hardest subcomponent” of the terminal.

“The entire antenna is less than an eighth inch thick,” he said. “So the breakthrough is that you can have an extremely light, thin, low-power antenna that’s very cost effective and can be produced in large volumes.”

Satellite operators have bemoaned the slow pace of antenna technology development (https://spacenews.com/satellite-operators-view-antennas-as-weak-link-in-broadband-business-plans/). Mavrakis said the high part count for electronically scanned antennas has made cost reduction difficult. Even with breakthroughs using metamaterials, like the approach of Redmond, Washington-based Kymeta, progress has been slow, he said.

If Wafer’s antennas are productized as full terminals by 2020 as envisioned, they would enter the market the same year OneWeb expects to activate its satellite broadband service. OneWeb anticipates starting a rapid launch campaign in the second half of 2019, with Soyuz launches every three weeks carrying more than 30 satellites each. In a previous interview, Wyler said OneWeb anticipates having 150 satellites in orbit by the end of 2019. The company is targeting 300 satellites in orbit before starting service.

OneWeb is seeking to raise additional funds while the cost of its satellites has grown past their $500,000 target. A Jan. 21 Financial Times article said it will cost OneWeb more than $1 million to build a satellite — more than twice the goal stated at the beginning of the program. Airbus Defence and Space and OneWeb are building the constellation together through a joint venture called OneWeb Satellites.

OneWeb originally estimated the cost of the complete satellite system at $3.5 billion, but no longer affirms that number. Better than expected satellite performance from ground testing led OneWeb to reduce its baseline constellation for global coverage from 900 to 600 satellites, lowering overall costs should OneWeb forgo the last 300 spacecraft.

Wyler said by email that OneWeb has raised more than $2 billion, but less than $2.5 billion, to date, having chosen to not publicly disclose every funding round. Previous publicly disclosed funding had put OneWeb’s total capital raised at $1.7 billion, with the majority coming from Softbank.

Early results suggest the Wafer prototype could provide downlink speeds of 50 megabits per second, Wyler said. That’s twice the rate the U.S. Federal Communications Commission considers acceptable for fixed broadband connections. Combining multiple antenna “tiles” would provide higher throughputs from a single terminal, he said.

Wyler said Wafer has focused on industrialization of its antenna technology, with an eye towards manufacturability “at consumer electronics scale.”

“In order to meet market needs for emerging markets, in the large scale consumer markets, you need to be between $200 and $300 — in the box and delivered to the customer,” he said. “That’s a price point all in, everything done.”

That definition does not apply to smaller markets, like aviation, he said. Aviation terminals are more expensive because of lengthy certification procedures and modifications needed to ensure they work in harsh environments.

Wyler said the Wafer antenna is designed first to work in Ku-band — the same frequency as OneWeb’s first satellites — but could also work in Ka-, X-, V- and other bands with little change in cost.

Wyler said the antennas work with satellites regardless of orbit.


Source: https://spacenews.com/wyler-claims-breakthrough-in-low-cost-antenna-for-oneweb-other-satellite-systems/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:04
UK jump-starts OneWeb-ESA program with $23 million pledge
by Caleb Henry — February 18, 2019 [SpaceNews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/OneWeb-Satellites-rendition-of-a-OneWeb-satellite-879x485.png)
Artist's rendition of a OneWeb satellite in low Earth orbit. Credit: OneWeb Satellites
 
Multiyear investment begins with 18-month contract worth few million pounds.

WASHINGTON — The U.K. Space Agency announced Feb. 18 it is providing 18 million pounds ($23.3 million) to satellite broadband startup OneWeb through the agency’s participation in the 22-nation European Space Agency.

The U.K. is the first of six ESA member states plus Canada to put forward funding for OneWeb Sunrise — a program aimed at preparing OneWeb’s constellation of 600 to 900 satellites to stitch into upcoming fifth-generation communications networks on the ground.

OneWeb’s first six satellites are scheduled to launch Feb. 26 on an Arianespace Soyuz rocket from French Guiana, starting a launch campaign that could see up to 150 OneWeb satellites orbited by year’s end.

In an interview, Xavier Lobao, head of ESA’s future telecommunications projects division, said the agency is finalizing an 18-month Phase One contract with OneWeb worth a few million pounds for analysis and design work. A Phase Two contract will be discussed at ESA’s ministerial conference in Seville, Spain, this November, where member states will request funding to build, launch and test OneWeb Sunrise-developed technologies, Lobao said.

Lobao said the U.K. is ahead of the other OneWeb Sunrise participants — Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland — in that it has now already allocated funding for both phases of the program. Canada is a “cooperating state” with ESA that participates on programs despite not being a full member.

The U.K., amid Brexit negotiations, has emphasized the importance of its work with ESA, which is a separate body from the European Union. The U.K. Space Agency said OneWeb plans to employ up to 200 people in the country at one of the company’s business units.

OneWeb counts the British divisions of Teledyne and CGI as suppliers for the satellite constellation it is building through a joint venture with European manufacturer Airbus Defence and Space.

OneWeb Sunrise is led by ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems, or ARTES, division. ARTES funds programs through public-private partnerships, providing up to 50 percent of funds needed. Lobao said OneWeb is funding a “substantial part” of the program, but declined to specify how much exactly.

Adrian Steckel, OneWeb’s chief executive, said in a statement released by the U.K. Space Agency that the ARTES investment will help the company fulfill its goal of connecting people worldwide.

“Thanks to this support, we will focus together on next generation technologies that will be game changers for realizing global 5G connectivity,” he said.

OneWeb did not respond to SpaceNews’ request for comment.

Lobao said the amount put forward by the U.K. represents only a fraction of the envisioned total for OneWeb Sunrise. Indications of interest from ESA member states suggest up to 12 countries may participate in Phase Two of the program, he said.

Lobao listed four topics in addition to 5G that OneWeb Sunrise will focus on: artificial intelligence for flying the satellites; new payload and user terminal technology; spectrum and signal interference management; and active debris removal.

Lobao said the payload technology focuses on the second generation of satellites, but does not have a solid demarcation between the first generation.

“The second generation is not at the end of generation one,” he said. “It is more the ‘NewSpace’ way that is continuous. When you have something that is a mature new technology and an innovation that makes sense, the next batch of satellites you are launching incorporates that. Little by little, gradually, they will be incorporating new technologies into the constellation.”

OneWeb founder Greg Wyler, in a Jan. 14 interview with SpaceNews, said OneWeb will seek to iterate on the first generation of satellites, with spacecraft performance determining if 900 of them are needed.

“It’s not a question of whether there will more capacity from the system: the question is how,” he said. “It may be continue with Gen-1, or it may be step function into Gen-2.”

Wyler tweeted Jan. 23 that the Gen-2 satellites will have at least 50 times more capacity, and will likely expand the entire constellation to 1,980 satellites.

Lobao said OneWeb is being very proactive on satellite disposal and preventing space debris. ESA has identified roughly half a dozen providers of active debris removal services that could support OneWeb, he said, but specified that it will be up to OneWeb to determine the feasibility of each approach.


Source: https://spacenews.com/uk-jump-starts-oneweb-esa-program-with-23-million-pledge/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:05
OneWeb’s first six satellites in orbit following Soyuz launch
by Caleb Henry — February 27, 2019 [SpaceNews]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Screen-Shot-2019-02-27-at-5.25.14-PM-879x485.png)
OneWeb's first launch enables the company to bring its spectrum into use before an ITU deadline this November, ensuring vital access to airwaves for a constellation that could ultimately number 1,980 satellites. Credit: Arianespace webcast.

KOUROU, French Guiana — The first six satellites in a constellation that could one day number close to 2,000 were successfully launched Feb. 27 aboard a Soyuz rocket.

The Russian rocket, adapted for European launch provider Arianespace to operate in the tropical weather that defines the company’s spaceport in French Guiana, deployed the first two satellites 63 minutes after a 4:37 p.m. Eastern liftoff. Arianespace confirmed separation of the last four 97 minutes after liftoff, about 15 minutes after the scheduled separation time due to a lack of ground stations in range of the rocket as it passed overhead.

The launch marked the end of the beginning for OneWeb, a British company founded by American entrepreneur Greg Wyler in 2012 that seeks to make low-cost internet a global phenomenon via a constellation of mini-fridge-sized satellites each weighing roughly 150 kilograms.

The six satellites launched to a 1,000-kilometer orbit, where they will begin a 60- to 90-day test regime that includes orbit raising for another 200 kilometers. OneWeb originally planned to launch the satellites directly into their 1,200-kilometer operational orbits, but tweaked those plans sometime before the launch for reasons that were not immediately clear.

In the weeks preceding the launch, OneWeb also changed the number of satellites from 10 to six, opting to hold some back in the event of an anomaly. Four mass simulators from APCO Technologies of Switzerland substituted for the withdrawn spacecraft.

Soyuz is the most launched space rocket in the world with around 1,900 launches, but has struggled with quality control issues endemic to Russian launchers in recent years. Soyuz rockets have experienced four anomalies in 19 months, including one just five days ago that exhibited what Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël described as “non-nominal third-stage behavior.”

A review of that mission, which successfully orbited the Egypsat-A observation satellite for Egypt, delayed OneWeb’s launch by one day. None of the four anomalies happened during Arianespace-operated missions.

OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel, in remarks made this morning, described the company’s first launch as of near-vital importance.

“We’ve achieved a lot, which means we got here, and if today doesn’t go right, it will almost be for nought because it is going to be very complicated to get us back on the right path,” he said.

A major function of these six satellites is to “bring into use” OneWeb’s spectrum, meeting a deadline from the International Telecommunication Union to employ the spectrum or else lose rights to it. Wyler said the deadline is Nov. 29.

Steckel said today was about “getting our spectrum and making what was a project into a company.”

OneWeb has already exhausted more than $2 billion on preparing its low-Earth-orbit constellation, Steckel said, having secured launches, built ground stations and established the infrastructure to build two satellites a day through a joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space.

Today’s launch and the completion of in-orbit testing paves the way for the next 20 Soyuz launches, each carrying up to 36 spacecraft, Steckel said.

Israël said the subsequent OneWeb launches will start in the second half of the year from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The majority of the remaining Soyuz missions are expected to occur from Baikonur, though Europe’s Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, and Russia’s new Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s Far East are also possibilities, Israël said.

Virgin Orbit is also expected to start launching OneWeb satellites this year using its dedicated smallsat vehicle LauncherOne. Wyler, responding to a SpaceNews inquiry, tweeted that the four satellites OneWeb withdrew from the Feb. 27 Soyuz mission could launch this year with Virgin Orbit, which has a contract for 39 missions using the LauncherOne air-launched rocket.

Virgin Orbit is a spinoff of Richard Branson’s crewed spaceflight company Virgin Galactic. Branson said Feb. 27 that Virgin Orbit’s first launch is scheduled to occur “hopefully in just a handful of months time.”

Steckel said LauncherOne can carry one to two OneWeb satellites at a time, but will mainly be used for fleet replenishment rather than constellation deployment.

Arianespace and OneWeb announced after the launch that OneWeb will also fly satellites on the inaugural flight of Ariane 6. The mission, scheduled for 2020, will use the Ariane 62, a version with two strap-on boosters. Israël tweeted that the OneWeb-Ariane 6 launch agreement includes options for two more Ariane 6 missions, and will be finalized next month.

OneWeb anticipates having around 150 satellites in orbit by year’s end, starting regional service in 2020 with around 300 satellites, and reaching global coverage in 2021 with 600 satellites. Wyler said that with six satellites, OneWeb can provide service for 18 minutes at a time, with that number scaling as launches progress.

Save for this first mission, OneWeb’s other satellites will separate from their launchers roughly 500 kilometers above the Earth and use onboard electric propulsion to reach their final 1,200-kilometer orbit — a journey Wyler estimated will take about four months.

Steckel said the company is targeting 648 satellites initially, with 48 serving as in-orbit spares. Beyond that, OneWeb is deciding if it will scale its first-generation constellation to 900 satellites or shift into a second generation that would likely increase the total constellation to 1,980 satellites.

Each first-generation OneWeb satellite costs $1 million to produce. OneWeb Satellites, the joint venture of OneWeb and Airbus, built the first 10 satellites in Toulouse, France, but plan to build the remainder of the first-generation constellation at a new $85 million factory in Exploration Park, Florida.

OneWeb announced its first customers Feb. 27: satellite teleport and network operator Talia and Italian telecommunications company Intermatica.

OneWeb is targeting several markets for connectivity, including inflight Wi-Fi, maritime and government users, but also has a mission to bring internet access to every school in the world. Steckel said the company will start pursuing that goal by sponsoring connectivity for six schools — one each in Alaska, Rwanda, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador and Honduras — for 10 years. The Soyuz rocket carrying OneWeb’s first satellites also bore the logo of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a nonprofit focused on instilling youth with a fascination for science and technology.


Source: https://spacenews.com/first-six-oneweb-satellites-launch-on-soyuz-rocket/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:06
First six OneWeb satellites launched from French Guiana
February 27, 2019 Stephen Clark [Spaceflight Now]

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/vs21_00.jpg)
A Soyuz ST-B rocket lifted off Wednesday from the Guiana Space Center with the first six OneWeb broadband satellites. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin

Carrying the ambition of an entrepreneur with a passion for connecting the world, a half-dozen satellites lifted off Wednesday aboard a Soyuz rocket from the edge of the Amazon jungle in South America to kick off a series of at least 21 planned launches to deploy OneWeb’s global Internet network.

A Soyuz ST-B rocket fired into a mostly cloudy sky at 6:37 p.m. local time in French Guiana (2137 GMT; 4:37 p.m. EST), sending the six refrigerator-sized north from the European-run spaceport with a push from 32 engine nozzles generating more than 900,000 pounds of thrust.

In less than 10 minutes, the Soyuz ST-B rocket’s first stage boosters, second stage and third stage fired in succession to propel the satellites out of the atmosphere. A Fregat upper stage took over for a pair of burns to place the spacecraft into orbit.

The Russian-made rocket aimed to deliver the six spacecraft, built by an industrial consortium named OneWeb Satellites formed by Airbus Defense and Space and OneWeb, to a polar orbit roughly 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) above Earth, tilted 87.77 degrees to the equator.

Arianespace, the French launch services provider responsible for Soyuz flights from French Guiana, declared success on the mission after telemetry data relayed from the rocket indicated all six of the 325-pound (147.7-kilogram) spacecraft separated in the targeted orbit.

The satellites launched Wednesday will help OneWeb secure the Ku-band radio spectrum the network will use for global broadband services. OneWeb has a Nov. 29 deadline imposed by the International Telecommunications Union to begin operating in the spectrum.

They are also pathfinders for OneWeb’s planned “mega-constellation,” and engineers will wring out every system on the spacecraft. Built in an assembly line fashion, they carry plasma thrusters and miniaturized high-power transmitters, antennas and other equipment necessary to broadcast Ku-band signals to support OneWeb’s global network.

If the satellites all work as expected, OneWeb aims to begin a regular cadence of Soyuz launches later this year from launch pads in French Guiana, Russia and Kazakhstan carrying between 32 and 36 satellites at a time.

That will allow OneWeb to have an initial constellation of 648 satellites in orbit, 600 of which are necessary to provide global coverage. OneWeb has a contract for 21 Soyuz missions with Arianespace, and the companies announced after Wednesday’s launch that OneWeb satellites will also ride on the inaugural flight of the new European Ariane 6 rocket in 2020.

Virgin Orbit and Blue Origin also have agreements to launch OneWeb satellites. Wyler hopes the OneWeb mega-constellation will eventually contain thousands of spacecraft, but that dream will have to wait for a second generation of satellites.

For now, OneWeb is focused on execution.

“This is a huge moment for OneWeb, where we definitively see our satellites, the manufacturing process, the design, the ground systems, all come together,” said Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s founder and chairman, in an interview with Spaceflight Now on the eve of the launch. “The supply chain that has been put together, to be able to produce these satellites in volume, is now culminating in this launch. Assuming that the satellites operate as predicted, we can go right into production.”

With major offices in the United Kingdom and the United States, OneWeb is at the vanguard of several companies developing mega-constellations of hundreds or thousands or small satellites for broadband Internet access.

SpaceX, Telesat and LeoSat are among the other companies working on similar projects, SpaceX launched its first two Starlink demo satellites last year, and Telesat also launched its first low Earth orbit broadband satellite for testing in January 2018.

A launch readiness review at the Guiana Space Center on Tuesday cleared the mission to proceed with the flight. Officials pushed back the flight one day to allow time for additional data analysis after a Soyuz launch last week from Kazakhstan encountered an underperformance condition on its upper stage, a shortfall Russian media attributed to the a misstep in filling the launcher with insufficient oxidizer.

Russian teams in French Guiana pressed ahead with rollout of the Soyuz booster Saturday from its hangar — known by the Russian acronym MIK — to the launch pad. The OneWeb satellites and their Fregat upper stage, already encapsulated inside the Soyuz payload shroud, arrived at the pad Saturday night for mating to the rocket.


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Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s founder and chairman, poses with the payload fairing on a Soyuz launcher containing his company’s first six broadband satellites. Credit: Greg Wyler

Wednesday’s launch was also a test for a specially-designed dispenser built for the OneWeb missions by Ruag Space in Sweden. The satellite carrier can accommodate more than 30 OneWeb spacecraft on a single launch, with the ability to release four payloads at a time in a staggered sequence.

The first pair of OneWeb satellites were timed to deploy from the Soyuz dispenser around 63 minutes after Wednesday’s liftoff at 2240 GMT (5:40 p.m. EST). The other four OneWeb spacecraft were expected to release from the carrier module at 2259 GMT (5:59 p.m. EST).

It took a few extra minutes for ground controllers to confirm a good separation of the final four OneWeb satellites Wednesday, as officials waited for the rocket to pass back in range of a tracking station.

After flying away from the Fregat upper stage, each OneWeb satellite was expected to radio its status to operators on the ground, unfurl their solar panels, then stabilize themselves to charge their batteries.

The Fregat upper stage, with the Ruag-built dispenser still attached, was scheduled to continue trials in orbit for several hours, mimicking the maneuvers the rocket will conduct on later OneWeb launches with a full load of satellites. The Fregat engine was expected to reignited late Wednesday for a deorbit burn to steer the spent rocket back into Earth’s atmosphere for a destructive re-entry.


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A specially-designed dispenser built for OneWeb by Ruag Space in Sweden will be able to carry up more than 30 spacecraft on a single Soyuz launch. Credit: Greg Wyler/OneWeb

Wyler has corralled blue-chip companies to invest in his dream to beam affordable broadband Internet signals around the world, a mission he sees as a prerequisite to providing billions of unconnected, underserved people with the tools necessary to succeed in a modern marketplace of goods, services and information.

“This is the world’s largest civilian space system, and it’s all put together for the benefit of mankind,” Wyler said Tuesday. “That’s something so exciting, where so many people from so many countries, and investment from every continent of the world, comes together for one mission and one purpose. Ultimately, as we begin connecting the emerging markets to the developed markets, as we begin bringing opportunity and education to people, we’re going to see something wonderful about mankind coming together.”

OneWeb’s investors include Airbus, Coca-Cola, Virgin Group, Qualcomm SoftBank, and Intelsat. Under Wyler’s leadership, OneWeb has raised more than $2 billion to pay for the first series of satellites, their launches, and a new factory at Exploration Park, located just outside the gates of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

New Delhi-based Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems — a subsidiary of EchoStar Corp. — and Totalplay, a company owned by Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego, are also behind OneWeb.

OneWeb says it needs at least 600 satellites for global broadband service, but the company plans up to 900 satellites in the first generation network. Wyler said a successful launch of the first six satellites will help the company secure the additional financing needed to pay for the entire project.

“We’ve had a tremendously positive response from investors, as they’ve seen OneWeb come into reality,” Wyler said. “When you scratch the surface and you start to dive deep through our systems, you realize we’ve built the supply chain, we have the spectrum in place, we’ve got the launch licenses, the approvals, we’re building an incredibly safe constellation so we’ll ensure there’s no space debris.

“All of those pieces are in place, and they’ve been in place. We’ve been putting them in place over the last six years, which has given investors quite a bit of confidence in the reality and the background of our system to accomplish this goal. So I am full of optimism.”


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One of the six OneWeb satellites set for launch Feb. 27. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin

Wyler is a serial entrepreneur whose vision led to the creation of O3b Networks, which provides broadband services to a more narrow swath of the world. He also has a passion for using communications to improve the lives of the world’s poor, and spent three years developing Internet infrastructure to connect schools in rural Africa.

OneWeb is his latest, and most ambitious, project. Wyler’s company plans to deploy hundreds of satellites to blanket the world in broadband, enabling anyone at any location on Earth reliable access to the Internet.

“I don’t think we really understand what we did today,” said Adrian Steckel, OneWeb’s CEO. “I think that the amount of useful space to be monetized, to change the use cases, it’s tremendous, and we don’t really know everything that we can do.

“I’m very thankful to be able to work at this company. It’s very, very few times to get the opportunity to work in a company with this much scale, with this much impact, and really the notion of doing some good is not some PR, it’s deep in the foundations of the DNA of the company. We’re very much looking forward to doing our part to connect as many schools as we can.”

Assuming good performance from the first six satellites, OneWeb will soon transition its production from Airbus’s factory in Toulouse, France, to the new factory in Florida with a footprint covering more than 100,000 square feet (9,300 square meters).


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OneWeb’s factory at Exploration Park, near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now

Officials originally planned to launch 10 pilot satellites on the first Soyuz launch, but OneWeb recently decided to fly six, and keep the other four on the ground as spares.

If something goes wrong with the satellites launched Wednesday, OneWeb will have the other four satellites ready to fly, ensuring the company meets the Nov. 29 regulatory deadline to use its allotted radio spectrum.

“We must launch and operate our satellites in order to bring our spectrum into use, in order to maintain our global priority rights to the spectrum for the system we’ve been designing since 2012. So if there is an issue, we have the other four in standby,” he said.

The first full-scale launch with OneWeb satellites is planned for August or September, again on a Soyuz, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Wyler said.

“The Soyuz will be in August or September in a nominal scenario, which I can hope for but not expect,” Wyler said. “But a nominal scenario will be in August or September, and we’ll be launching every 21 days.”

At that launch rate, more than 600 OneWeb satellites, which the company says will cost less than $1 million a piece, could be in orbit by the end of 2020, Wyler said. That’s a best-case scenario, assuming the satellites and rockets can be built and launched efficiently.

Nicolas Chamussy, head of space systems at Airbus, said OneWeb’s assembly line manufacturing technique is “setting new standards for the space industry.”

“Everything is ready for the mass production of several satellites per day,” Chamussy said. “It’s a short sentence,  but it means a lot to us. It’s been a real challenge to get here, but here we are.”

The first satellites for OneWeb will test “basically everything because we had to design pretty much everything,” Wyler said. “There were no volume-manufactured, space-qualified components when we started this, so we’re moving from zero to 1,000 in one step. So qualifying all of the space components along the way, getting it so you can have the repeatability necessary for space qualification, has been a tremendous challenge.”


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/02/27/first-six-oneweb-satellites-launched-from-french-guiana/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:07
OneWeb announced as customer for inaugural Ariane 6 launch
March 5, 2019 Stephen Clark [Spaceflight Now]

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Artist’s illustration of an Ariane 6 rocket launching a constellation of small satellites. Credit: ArianeGroup

Arianespace has announced OneWeb, the broadband Internet provider seeking to deploy more than 600 satellites into low Earth orbit, as the launch customer for the inaugural flight of the new Ariane 6 rocket in 2020.

Officials announced the agreement hours after the successful deployment of OneWeb’s first six broadband satellites Feb. 27 aboard a Soyuz rocket launched from French Guiana, a mission managed by Arianespace, the French launch services provider.

“This agreement consists of OneWeb’s use of the inaugural Ariane 6 flight,” said Stephane Israel, CEO of Arianespace.

The first Ariane 6 launch will fly in the Ariane 62 configuration, with two solid rocket boosters augmenting thrust from the rocket’s core stage Vulcain 2.1 main engine.

OneWeb secured options for three Ariane 6 missions when it signed the original Soyuz launch contract with Arianespace in 2015, a deal which officials said then was the most lucrative commercial launch contract in history. OneWeb has booked 21 Soyuz missions, including the launch Feb. 27. The following 20 Soyuz flights are expected to loft up to 36 satellites at a time from launch pads in at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia, and the Guiana Space Center in South America.

OneWeb’s satellites are in polar orbit around 745 miles (1,200 kilometers) above Earth, but the Soyuz launchers release the spacecraft — each about the size of a mini-fridge — at a lower altitude. The satellites use plasma thrusters to maneuver into the OneWeb constellation.

With OneWeb’s agreement to launch its satellites on the first Ariane 6 flight, the company has two more options for future Ariane 6 missions, Israel said. Terms of the new agreement between OneWeb and Arianespace were expected to be formalized in March, Israel said in his remarks after the Feb. 27 launch.


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One of the six OneWeb satellites launched Feb. 27. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin

OneWeb and Arianespace have not said how many satellites will launch aboard the first Ariane 6 mission. The Ariane 62 variant can deliver more than 30 percent more mass than the Soyuz to the type of orbit used by OneWeb’s satellites.

ArianeGroup, the leading shareholder in Arianespace and builder of the Ariane rocket family, aims to have the Ariane 6 rocket ready for its first launch at the Guiana Space Center in July 2020. The Ariane 6 will come in two configurations — an Ariane 62 with two boosters and a heavier Ariane 64 with four solid-fueled motors — to replace the Ariane 5 rocket, which has accomplished more than 100 flights since debuting in 1996.

ArianeGroup says the Ariane 6 will be less expensive than the Ariane 5, and will offer expanded capabilities, such as a heavier lift capacity and an upper stage engine designed for multiple ignitions, allowing the new rocket to place satellites into different orbits on a single flight.

Developed in a cost-sharing arrangement between European Space Agency member states and ArianeGroup, the Ariane 6 will use an upgraded hydrogen-fueled Vulcain 2.1 engine similar to the powerplant on the Ariane 5’s first stage. A new Vinci engine will replace the HM7B upper stage engine on the Ariane 5, and the Ariane 64 version will deliver up to 11.5 metric tons — more than 25,300 pounds — to geostationary transfer orbit.

Construction crews in French Guiana are building a new launch pad for the Ariane 6, which will be assembled in a horizontal hangar, then rolled out to the pad a few days before liftoff and erected vertical inside a mobile service tower, where satellites will be mated to the launcher.


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An aerial view of the new Ariane 6 launch pad under construction at the Guiana Space Center. The facility is located a few miles northwest of the Ariane 5’s launch zone, and a few miles southeast of the Soyuz pad at the spaceport. Credit: CNES-ESA/Sentinel

OneWeb plans to deploy 648 satellites over the next two years to begin initial global broadband services, beaming high-speed Internet signals to far-flung locales, rural users, ships, airplanes and others outside the reach of terrestrial broadband coverage. OneWeb’s first 10 satellites were built at a spacecraft manufacturing plant in Toulouse, France, and production will soon move to a new factory operated by OneWeb Satellites — a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defense and Space — at Exploration Park in Florida.

The new factory will churn out up to 15 satellites per week for less than $1 million per spacecraft, according to OneWeb.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/03/05/oneweb-announced-as-customer-for-inaugural-ariane-6-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:08
OneWeb raises $1.25 billion from returning investors
by Caleb Henry — March 18, 2019 [SpaceNews]

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Artist's rendition of a OneWeb satellite in low Earth orbit. Credit: OneWeb Satellites

The new round, announced March 18, brings OneWeb's total capital raised to 3.4 billion. Credit: OneWeb Satellites
WASHINGTON — Less than a month after the launch of its first six satellites, OneWeb closed a new $1.25 billion financing round to further its internet constellation.

Japanese tech giant SoftBank — OneWeb’s largest investor — led the round, as did returning investors Grupo Salinas, Qualcomm Technologies, and the government of Rwanda.

The new financing bring OneWeb’s total funding to $3.4 billion, following a $500 million round in 2015, a $1.2 billion round in 2016 and undisclosed fundraising of around $450 million last year.

In a statement accompanying the March 18 announcement, OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said the new money “makes OneWeb’s service inevitable” as the heavily capitalized startup prepares for the large-scale production and launch of a first-generation constellation of 648 satellites.

Steckel said in a February interview that OneWeb had moved away from earlier plans to finance the remainder of its system using debt. That approach, he said, would have required OneWeb to sign up early customers at discounted pricing, which OneWeb feared would permanently constrain what it could charge for service.

OneWeb declined to say how much each investor contributed to the new round.

OneWeb plans to begin offering regional service in 2020 with 300 satellites, and full service in 2021 with 600 satellites. The full first-generation constellation consists of 600 operational satellites and 48 spares.

Steckel, who was an executive board member at OneWeb-investor Grupo Salinas, became OneWeb’s CEO in September, and was tasked with helping to raise additional financing. He said during the interview that Grupo Salinas invested $25 million in OneWeb’s 2015 round and $76 million in OneWeb’s 2016 round.

OneWeb no longer shares cost projections for the system, which originally were between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion, but have been externally estimated at as high as $7.5 billion.

Marcelo Claure, the chief operating officer of SoftBank Group and the executive chairman of cellular network operator Sprint Corporation, said OneWeb has “extended its first-mover advantage and is on track to become the world’s largest and first truly global communications network.”

“OneWeb’s potential is undeniable as the growth in data from 5G, [Internet of Things], autonomous driving and other new technologies drives demand for capacity above and beyond the limits of the existing infrastructure,” he said.

OneWeb said it will start large-scale satellite production this spring at its new factory in Exploration Park, Florida, run by its Airbus joint venture OneWeb Satellites. In the fourth quarter of this year, OneWeb will begin “monthly launches of more than 30 satellites at a time” to deploy the constellation, it said.

“We are committed to bridging the digital divide, and this funding helps ensure our globally shared dream will soon become a reality,” Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s founder and chairman, said in a statement.

Arianespace is OneWeb’s principal launch provider, having launched the first six satellites on a Soyuz rocket Feb. 27, and having 20 more Soyuz launches under contract. The majority of those launches are expected to take place from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-raises-1-25-billion-from-returning-investors/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:08
How OneWeb plans to make sure its first satellites aren’t its last
by Caleb Henry — March 18, 2019 [SpaceNews]

This article, which originally appeared in the March 11, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine, was updated March 18.

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The first of OneWeb’s 21 Soyuz launches took place Feb. 27, carrying the first six OneWeb satellites into low Earth orbit. Subsequent missions are expected to carry 30 or more satellites at a time to build out a minimum constellation of 648 satellites. Credit: Arianespace

OneWeb’s dream of blanketing the globe in affordable, abundant broadband took an important step toward reality Feb. 27 when a Russian rocket lifted off from South America to deliver six French-built satellites into low Earth orbit.

OneWeb was facing a November deadline to put up its first satellites or risk losing spectrum the International Telecommunication Union alloted several years ago for the ambitious broadband megaconstellation.

If all continues to go as planned, OneWeb’s first six spacecraft will finish on-orbit testing this spring, clearing the path for an initial system of 648 satellites — 600 operational and 48 spares — and setting the stage for a larger system that could eventually number 900 or more satellites.

Orbiting the initial 648-satellite constellation will entail the largest launch campaign in history. In late summer of early fall, OneWeb expects to start launching 30 or so satellites at a time on Soyuz rockets lifting off every three to four weeks. In addition these 20 Soyuz missions booked through European launch service provider Arianespace, OneWeb is also counting on one or more Ariane 6 launches plus a to-be-determined number of Virgin Orbit LauncherOne missions to complete its constellation by 2021.

OneWeb and its satellite manufacturing partner Airbus Defence and Space have crammed 10 gigabits per second of capacity into spacecraft the size of dishwashers. Tom Enders, Airbus Group’s outgoing CEO, said Feb. 14 that OneWeb satellites cost $1 million each to produce, and that the companies will be able to complete 350 to 400 satellites annually from their joint venture OneWeb Satellite’s $85 million Florida factory opening in April. The first batches of Florida-built satellites should be delivered to OneWeb toward the end of the third quarter, Airbus spokesman Guilhem Boltz said.

OneWeb’s satellites are a technological marvel. Traditional geostationary communications satellites are as big as trucks, take years to build, typically cost $100 million or more and still might generate less throughput than a few OneWeb satellites.

But the satellite industry has seen other technological marvels reach orbit while the business plans behind them fall back to the ground.

The most notorious failure was Teledesic. The Bill Gates-backed venture raised $1 billion in the 1990s to build an 840-satellite “internet in the sky” but flamed out a few years after launching a single demo satellite.

While Iridium and Globalstar had succeeded by 2000 in deploying relatively modest constellations that enabled the advent of handheld satellite phones, both ventures went bankrupt in the process. However, Iridium and Globalstar ultimately emerged from bankruptcy and went on to launch second-generation constellations.


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Each OneWeb spacecraft weighs about 150 kilograms — much more than cubesats but considerably less than the average communications satellite, which often weighs several tons. Credit: ARIANESPACE/CNES/ESA

OneWeb’s current risks are seen as primarily financial, not technical, according to Eric Anderson, a former Moog chief technologist and CSA Engineering executive involved in Teledesic and Iridium. He’s now a space consultant and investor.

“If their revenues are slow in growing, which I expect they will be, then they can’t plow anything significant back into capital expenditures like building new satellites and ground station infrastructure,” Anderson said.

OneWeb said on the eve of its inaugural launch that it had raised and spent more than $2 billion to date, a total that includes $1.7 billion spread over two high-profile equity rounds since 2015 and an undisclosed amount the company says it raised last year. The first $500 million came in 2015 from industry partners Airbus, Hughes Network Systems, Intelsat, Qualcomm and Virgin Group, plus Coca-Cola, Mexican telecom company Grupo Salinas and Indian telecom company Bharti Airtel. In 2016, Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank supplied $1 billion of a $1.2 billion round that included previous investors.

In September, OneWeb replaced its CEO for the third time since 2015, replacing Airbus veteran Eric Béranger with OneWeb board member Adrian Steckel, who had been serving simultaneously as chief executive of Grupo Salinas Telecom and cryptocurrency startup Uphold.

Steckel, speaking to reporters in Kourou, French Guiana, before the Feb. 27 Soyuz launch of OneWeb’s first six satellites, predicted OneWeb will achieve profitability in 2022, or about six months after OneWeb expects the constellation to achieve full global service.

Steckel indicated OneWeb would soon raise more funds from previous investors. That proved true March 18 when the company announced a $1.25 billion round — its largest to date — led by SoftBank Group Corp., Grupo Salinas, Qualcomm Technologies, and the government of Rwanda.

The new round brings OneWeb’s total capital to $3.4 billion — a sizable sum, but one that’s significance can’t be fully gauged without a total cost estimate for the OneWeb system.

While early estimates ranged from $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion, OneWeb no longer shares projections for deploying the constellation. When Steckel was hired last fall, Uphold issued a news release (soon retracted) that described OneWeb as a “$6B global broadband effort.” OneWeb founder Greg Wyler described it in 2017 as a $4 billion venture when he testified before a U.S. congressional hearing on satellite connectivity.


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OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel speaking inside the Jupiter control room inside the Guiana Space Center ahead of OneWeb’s first launch aboard an Arianespace Soyuz Feb. 27. Credit: SpaceNews/Caleb Henry

Roger Rusch, president of the satellite consulting firm TelAstra, thinks both Wyler’s $4 billion estimate and Uphold’s dubious $6 billion figure are too low. He estimates OneWeb will ultimately need $7.5 billion to complete its system, and possibly more if it finances the user terminals.

“The realistic number is probably far beyond where they are right now,” said Rusch, who helped design several satellite systems with manufacturers. “It’s probably three times more than what they have.”

OneWeb’s individual spacecraft, while dramatically cheaper than traditional satellites, are still at least twice as expensive as the sub-$500,000 price point OneWeb envisioned when the program began. Rusch cautioned that less obvious costs, like gateway ground stations, real estate and regulatory licensing can further inflate costs beyond early estimates.

Other satellite operators have criticized OneWeb’s approach as unsound — one that will profit launch providers, satellite manufacturers and their suppliers while leaving investors high and dry.

OneWeb leadership insists that’s not the case.


From project to business

“We know that we will sell out [of capacity],” Steckel said. “When you give data at good speed with coverage that people haven’t had before and a device that works for them, you sell out.”

OneWeb still has a long way to go to sell out capacity of the envisioned initial system of 648 satellites.

The day of the launch, OneWeb announced its first two customers: UK-based satellite teleport and network operator Talia and Italian telecommunications company Intermatica.

OneWeb declined to provide contract values, but Steckel said the Talia deal “almost makes our year just with that one contract.”


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The Soyuz rocket carrying OneWeb’s first satellites also bore the logo of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a nonprofit focused on instilling youth with a fascination for science and technology. Credit: ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE

It’s not clear how soon either announced contract will generate significant revenue for OneWeb. In a news release, OneWeb said its service “will come on stream for Talia starting in 2021, with virtually all of Talia’s markets activated by 2023.” Talia spokesman Elliot Banks declined to comment on the contract’s financial terms.

OneWeb’s announcement of the Talia and Intermatic contracts also revealed a significant change in its relationship with SoftBank, its largest investor.

SoftBank originally claimed full ownership of OneWeb’s capacity, but Wyler said Feb. 27 the two companies have backed away from that approach.

“That was something we had worked on, with them having all of the capacity for all the system and they were going to resell it, but we’ve changed that model together,” he said.

Wyler didn’t give an exact date for the change, saying it occurred “gradually over a number of months.”

With SoftBank no longer a guaranteed buyer for the constellation’s full capacity, OneWeb’s success as a business rests more squarely on its own shoulders.


Debt financing shelved

OneWeb’s March 2019 capital raise also marked a departure from a previous plan to rely on debt financing for the remainder of its funding needs.

“It changed,” Steckel said in explaining OneWeb’s plan to go back to shareholders rather than arranging debt financing through export-credit agencies, which often condition their support on proof of customer commitments.

“What we haven’t wanted to do is become dependent on outside financing,” Steckel said. “It was going to force us to sign commercial deals ahead of time and give too many discounts to customers.”

Steckel said early-bird discounts risked setting an expectation for OneWeb capacity prices at a rate lower than what the company wants, turning a sale price into the de facto norm.

“Our issue isn’t ‘will we sell out?’ Our issue is making sure that we sign the right deals so that we don’t sell out too soon and at the wrong price,” he said.

An initial public offering of OneWeb stock is also on the table for meeting the company’s future capital needs. Steckel said OneWeb “absolutely” plans to go public — just not for a while.

“Our mission is to bring connectivity everywhere … but to get there we need to build a viable business,” Steckel said. “It’s a premium product, it costs a lot of money to put it up, and we need to be able to monetize it.”


Reaching profitability

OneWeb predicts its initial system will be ready to provide 500 megabits-per-second connections with just 30 milliseconds of lag time by the time it reaches global coverage in 2021.

For now, OneWeb’s first six satellites (operational spacecraft, not prototypes) can collectively provide 18 minutes of service at a time — far too little for most customers OneWeb intends to serve. But each successive launch will increase that time, with polar regions becoming the first to get 24-hour coverage.

OneWeb anticipates launching around 150 satellites this year using four or five Soyuz rockets and potentially Virgin Orbit’s still-unflown LauncherOne, which can carry one to two satellites at a time. By 2020, the company should reach 300 satellites — enough that Canada and other regions close to the north and south poles will have 24-hour coverage, Wyler said. As the constellation scales to 648, the canopy of 24-hour coverage will reach the equator, providing global coverage, he said. Steckel said full service should start in 2021 or early 2022.

Steckel said OneWeb will be profitable in 2022, going so far as to project achieving profitability after the first six months of full, global service.

Outside observers caution that OneWeb appears likely to burn through a lot more cash before the constellation starts generating significant revenue.

“They need to get to this level of meaningful service, whether it’s 300 satellites or whatever, so that the full build out of the network is considered viable by other financiers,” Anderson said. “It seems really close, their ability to do that right now, but if revenues are only trickling in, or the margins are substantially lower than the high margins that traditional satellite operators can get, then I think they are not going to be able to get the additional billions.”


Space shattering

OneWeb was founded with the lofty goal of bringing fast, affordable internet to every corner of the globe. “We envision a world where all people have access and hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others wherever they are,” is how OneWeb currently describes its mission. But bridging the world’s digital divide will require OneWeb to build a successful business around connecting customers with much deeper pockets than a remote village or typical school.

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Sir Richard Branson, left, with OneWeb founder Greg Wyler at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana for OneWeb’s Feb. 27 inaugural launch. Credit: SpaceNews/Caleb Henry

Mobile network operators using OneWeb’s satellites to backhaul communications traffic for cellular towers will account for a lot of the company’s early customers, Steckel said. He listed aviation, maritime and government customers as other anticipated early users — alongside schools. “There are many different methods or financial models to connect the schools in many different countries with different abilities to pay,” Wyler said.

Wyler said his primary job at OneWeb has been to make sure the company stays true to its more philanthropic objectives while balancing financial investments and reaching “rapid profitability” as a company.

“We have a good balance of investors today who are watching both sides,” he said.

Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic’s billionaire founder, is one such investor. At the launch, Branson described OneWeb as “space shattering” in the difference it can make.

“It is going to be enormous,” he said.

Wyler said the $2 billion-plus OneWeb has spent getting to the point where it is nearly ready to start launching satellites by the dozens was a “one-off” expense that went into securing launches, establishing manufacturing infrastructure and setting up a supply chain. Marginal costs to build and expand the system are low from this point, he said.

But questions about OneWeb’s ability to pull off its dream linger, nonetheless.


Source: https://spacenews.com/how-oneweb-plans-to-make-sure-its-first-satellites-arent-its-last/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:09
What Airbus learned from building satellites with OneWeb
by Caleb Henry — March 19, 2019
This article originally appeared in the March 11, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/factory-worker-OneWeb-Satellites-879x485.jpg)
Nicolas Chamussy, Airbus Defence and Space’s executive vice president of space systems, said building the OneWeb satellites required a complete rethink of how to design a satellite with an emphasis on repeatability. Credit: OneWeb Satellites

Regardless of whether the Airbus-OneWeb joint venture gearing up to crank out dozens of satellites a month ultimately builds just 648 satellites or closer to the 900 originally envisioned, OneWeb’s constellation is the first such project large enough to truly incorporate aviation-style mass production procedures for spacecraft.

“People had thought about it … but never had an opportunity to do it because they never had big series of production,” said Nicolas Chamussy, Airbus Defence and Space’s executive vice president of space systems. “Yes, there were 10, 20, or 40 satellites, but not 900.”

Chamussy said Airbus, in forming the OneWeb Satellites joint venture getting ready to open an $85 million factory on Florida’s Space Coast, assembled a roster of aviation, automobile and munitions suppliers already well known to the larger Airbus Group.

“Airbus is delivering three aircraft a day, so it means that [our suppliers] are used to deliver[ing],” he said.

Chamussy said building the OneWeb satellites required a complete rethink of how to design a satellite with an emphasis on repeatability.

“It has to be repeatable and repeatable in a manner that does not open any opportunity for mistake,” he said.

One notable change between previous satellites and those Airbus is building with OneWeb is the use of a single onboard computer instead of three. Airbus designed the new single computer and outsourced it to a supplier that could build the finished product at scale, Chamussy said.

Despite the complexity of the OneWeb satellites, Chamussy said the most difficult part remained the same as for any other satellite: the software.

“As always the challenging part was not something that you develop, it’s the onboard software,” he said. “The onboard software is touching each and every equipment and function, and it’s the last piece of development.”

Because of that complexity, Chamussy said Airbus chose to keep the software as its direct responsibility.


Source: https://spacenews.com/what-airbus-learned-from-building-satellites-with-oneweb/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 29, 2019, 23:09
Ruag revises strategy to win constellation orders
by Debra Werner — March 19, 2019
This article originally appeared in the March 11, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/APM-machine-RUAG-879x485.jpg)
A close up of a Ruag automated potting machine used in satellite panel manufacturing. Credit: Ruag Space

Long before Ruag began producing structures for OneWeb communications satellites, the Swiss aerospace equipment supplier noted the market shift toward large constellations and began investing in automation.

For decades, satellite operators and government agencies usually ordered one or two satellites at a time. Such spacecraft generally are designed to last 15 years or more.

For the new constellations, companies plan to launch hundreds of satellites into orbit within the span of two or three years and then begin replacing them with updated technology five to seven years later.


(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Niklas-Boman_portr%C3%A4tt_glad_170619.jpg)
Niklas Boman, Ruag Spacecraft Product Group sales and marketing director. Credit: Ruag Space

“It’s not only the sheer number of components that need to be made but also the window of manufacturing is much shorter,” said Niklas Boman, Ruag Spacecraft Product Group sales and marketing director. “That’s the major change that the industry is undergoing now,” Boman said during a recent interview at the Ruag Space USA office in Santa Clara, California.

For equipment suppliers, the surge in satellite orders can seem daunting because of the quantities. A typical communications satellite structure includes 10 to 15 honeycomb or aluminum panels. Each satellite also requires 2,500 to 3,000 inserts, the attachment points for sensors or instruments. For a 500-satellite constellation order, Ruag would need to produce as many as 1.5 million inserts.

Before working on constellations, Ruag employees placed inserts in each panel manually. Now, a robotic arm picks up an insert, applies adhesive, places it in a panel and then measures to confirm its precise location.

“You can’t do 1.5 million inserts manually,” Boman said. “You need robots.”

The robots work in the 2,200 square meter manufacturing facility Ruag established in 2017 in Titusville, Florida, to manufacture satellite structures for OneWeb Satellites, the Airbus-OneWeb joint venture. Ruag is not disclosing the cost of the Titusville factory, but Boman called it a “huge investment.”

Before constellations changed the market, Ruag optimized satellite parts for technical excellence. Now, the company balances three goals. A part must be technically sufficient to perform its function. It also must be inexpensive and easily mass produced. Without all three elements, “you have no business case,” Boman said.

Ruag also supports OneWeb launches in addition to producing thermal insulation for the satellites, mechanical ground support equipment and dispensers to send 32 satellites into orbit at a time.

It was important for Ruag’s facility to be geographically close to the Airbus-OneWeb assembly, integration and test facility. While shipping parts for a single satellite is not a problem, if a company is shipping components for hundreds or thousands of satellites “logistics become a major cost factor,” Boman said. “Being geographically close to the satellite assembly, integration and test facility or the launch base has a huge impact on the overall business case.”

Ruag’s Titusville factory also is designed to support other constellations. Because the space industry is known for customizing satellites and spacecraft components, Ruag’s production line is designed to adapt to various customers seeking parts for low Earth orbit constellations as well as satellites destined for medium Earth or geostationary orbit.

“We believe much of this lower-cost technology we are building for low Earth orbit satellites is also going to end up in the geostationary and medium Earth orbit satellites,” Boman said. “They will utilize everything we produce for low Earth orbit satellites to take down the cost.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/ruag-revises-strategy-to-win-constellation-orders/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Czerwiec 13, 2019, 21:57
Virgin Orbit takes OneWeb to court over canceled launch contract
by Brian Berger — June 6, 2019 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/virginorbit-cornwall-879x485.jpg)
OneWeb agreed four years ago to pay Virgin Orbit $234 million, or $6 million a launch, to loft its satellites one or two at a time into low Earth orbit using the air-launched LauncherOne vehicle the Long Beach, California, company expects to debut this year. Credit: Virgin Orbit

WASHINGTON — Virgin Orbit is suing OneWeb for refusing to pay a termination fee for canceling all but the initial four of the 39 launches it ordered from Virgin Orbit in 2015 to fill gaps in its planned constellation of at least 648 broadband satellites.

According to a complaint Virgin Orbit filed June 4 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, OneWeb quietly canceled 35 of a planned 39 launches last June, triggering a $70 million termination fee spelled out in the contract. Virgin Orbit says OneWeb still owes $46.32 million. The lawsuit was first reported by Law360.com.

OneWeb, the complaint says, agreed four years ago to pay Virgin Orbit $234 million — or $6 million a launch — to loft its satellites one or two at a time into low Earth orbit using the air-launched LauncherOne vehicle the Long Beach, California, company expects to debut this year.

OneWeb, which counts Virgin founder Richard Branson among its investors, launched its first six satellites in February aboard an Arianespace Soyuz rocket and intends to continue using Soyuz to deploy the bulk of its constellation 35 satellites at a time.

Will Pomerantz, vice president of special projects at Virgin Orbit, said June 6 the company still expects to fly at least four missions for OneWeb.

“While we don’t have a comment on this matter specifically, we’d like to voice our on-going support for OneWeb’s mission of providing affordable, low-latency internet access across the globe via satellite,” Pomerantz said by email. “We are excited by the success of OneWeb’s initial test satellites, and we look forward to flying their spacecraft soon, and to helping support and sustain their constellation for many successful years to come.”

OneWeb spokesperson Katie Dowd declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.


Virgin’s complaint

According to Virgin Orbit’s 14-page complaint, Virgin and OneWeb entered into a launch services agreement May 20, 2015, that called for four “initial firm launches” to start in 2017 and 35 “remaining firm launches” to start in 2018. The contract included options for an additional 100 launches at an agreed upon $6 million per launch, meaning Virgin Orbit stood to earn between $234 million and $834 million under its agreement with OneWeb.

Virgin Orbit says OneWeb sought during the spring of 2017 to reduce the number of launches, pay less per launch, “and spread out the launch dates for several years beyond the original terms.” OneWeb, according to Virgin’s complaint, also balked at escalating termination fees built into the contract, saying its lenders objected to incurring the increased obligation. Virgin Orbit at first agreed to slow the rate of escalation and then agreed to freeze it at a flat $70 million through June 15, 2018, while negotiations over a revised contract continued.

On June 7, 2018, after months of negotiations, Virgin Orbit sent OneWeb a new written proposal. On June 14, 2018 — the day before the contract termination fees were set to resume their rise — OneWeb canceled the 35 “remaining firm launches” but left intact the agreement covering the four initial launches, according to the complaint.

Virgin Orbit told the court that OneWeb had paid $26.25 million toward the 35 launches since signing the contract in 2015 but had fallen $19 million behind on its payments by the time it canceled the launches last June and incurred $2.1 million in associated late-payment fees.

Last July, about six weeks after canceling the 35-launch order, OneWeb sent Virgin Orbit $22.36 million, or roughly $1.26 million more than it owed in past-due payments and late fees.

Virgin Orbit says that even after factoring in last July’s payment plus the $26.25 million OneWeb had previously paid toward the now-terminated launches, OneWeb still owes it $46.32 million.

OneWeb, per the complaint, maintains that it doesn’t owe Virgin Orbit any money for canceling 35 launches.

After failing to resolve the dispute through informal mediation, Virgin Orbit decided to sue for breach of contract, seeking the $46.32 million plus legal fees and past due interest.


Jeff Foust and Caleb Henry contributed to this story from Washington.

Source: https://spacenews.com/virgin-orbit-takes-oneweb-to-court-over-canceled-launch-contract/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 31, 2019, 23:33
OneWeb Satellites inaugurates Florida factory
by Jeff Foust — July 22, 2019 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/onewebfactory-exterior.jpg)
The OneWeb Satellites factory, located just outside the gates of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will be able to produce two OneWeb satellites a day when fully operational. Credit: SpaceNews/Jeff Foust

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. — OneWeb Satellites, the joint venture of Airbus and OneWeb, formally opened its Florida factory that will soon be producing satellites for OneWeb’s constellation at the rate of two per day.

The July 22 ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 9,750-square-meter factory, located just outside the gates of the Kennedy Space Center here, marked the formal opening of the facility, although its twin production lines are still being commissioned and have yet to start full-scale satellite production. The event attracted dignitaries that included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who was governor when Florida landed the deal three years ago to bring the factory to the state.

Ultimately, the factory will be able to build two satellites a day for OneWeb, allowing the company to maintain a high launch cadence as it seeks to deploy its initial 648-satellite constellation over the next two years.

“We are going to pioneer serial satellite production,” said Tony Gingiss, chief executive of OneWeb Satellites, at the ceremony. “It is something that has not been done in the industry.”

The company designed the factory from the ground up to support mass production of satellites. The twin production lines are laid out to optimize assembly, and make use of robots known as automated guided vehicles to move components efficiently from one station to the next.

Company officials said on a tour of the factory that they are still testing various aspects of the assembly process, and didn’t give an estimate on when full-scale production will begin. However, the first set of 34 OneWeb satellites, scheduled to launch in December on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, will be built at the factory. Additional launches will follow on a monthly cadence from Baikonur and the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East, each carrying 34 to 36 satellites.

“This is physical, tangible evidence of progress” said Adrian Steckel, chief executive of OneWeb, of the new factory at the ceremony. He said with its planned launch rate OneWeb will be ready to provide broadband access globally in two years, with initial service starting in Alaska and Canada next year.


(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/onewebfactory-interior-768x512.jpg)
The OneWeb Satellites factory features two production lines designed top optimize the assembly of satellites. Credit: OneWeb Satellites

OneWeb’s first six satellites, built at an Airbus factory in Toulouse, France, launched in February on a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana. The company announced last week that those satellites are fully operational and, in tests, demonstrated the ability to provide broadband access at 400 megabits per second and a latency of about 30 milliseconds.

“We’re able now to show and demonstrate working satellites and the ability to connect places around the world,” said Greg Wyler, founder and chairman of OneWeb.

Wyler, in his comments at the ceremony, emphasized the ability of OneWeb to help achieve the goal of connecting every school in the world by 2022, with OneWeb providing connectivity to those schools that can’t be reached by other means. However, he also OneWeb was “getting ready to gear up on the sales side” for commercial customers of the system.

In an interview, Wyler said OneWeb would be targeting rural customers who have few options for broadband today. “We’re going to offer an incredibly valuable and competitive product,” he said. Another initial market will be “land mobility” services for buses, trucks and emergency vehicles.

Another key element of the business plan will be costs. Wyler said OneWeb was still targeting “$1 million and under” for the per-satellite production cost, after the company set an initial cost target of $500,000 per satellite in 2015.

The factory’s first customer will be OneWeb, but Gingiss said OneWeb Satellites is looking for additional users. One example is the contract Airbus won in January from DARPA for its Blackjack program, which seeks to examine how commercial smallsat constellations could be used for military applications.

“We also want to bring this to the larger commercial sector and to military LEO applications,” he added, although he didn’t identify any specific opportunities the company is pursuing.

The factory, which supports 250 jobs, is in Exploration Park, a business park just outside the Kennedy Space Center gates that is also home to a new factory built by Blue Origin for its New Glenn orbital launch vehicle. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place in a tent across the street from the OneWeb Satellites factory on land that will host a groundbreaking later this year for a Firefly Aerospace launch vehicle factory.

Frank DiBello, chief executive of Space Florida, the state’s space-focused economic development agency, said that only eight acres remains available in Exploration Park, and that he was working to identify other sites in the state’s Space Coast region for other businesses as the area continues to rebound from the aftermath of the retirement of the space shuttle eight years ago.

“Seldom do communities get the opportunity — although they desire it — to transform the industrial base,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and chief executive of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. “It’s taking place here, and it’s a wonderful thing to see.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-satellites-inaugurates-florida-factory/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Sierpień 10, 2019, 07:12
Op-ed | Two more rules for building a megaconstellation
by Luca Rossettini — August 4, 2019 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/OneWeb-constellation-screenshot-879x485.jpg)
An artist's rendition of communications satellites in low Earth orbit. Credit: OneWeb

Miniaturization and standardization of commercial low-cost, high-performance components have enabled a class of smaller space vehicles whose cost of development, manufacturing, and launch is three orders of magnitude lower than what used to be just a few years ago. To compensate for the inevitable performance gap at the spacecraft level, we can now coordinate the operations of hundreds of units into megaconstellations whose overall performance — especially in terms of temporal resolution — is astonishing. This architecture is the way to go to establish global infrastructures that will revolutionize fields like telecommunications, remote sensing, Internet of Things, agriculture, logistics, and many more.

While the concept of constellation is not new, the challenges connected to operating hundreds of spacecraft at the same time are yet to be fully understood. An article published in the June 10, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine lists “Three rules for building a megaconstellation (https://spacenews.com/three-rules-for-building-a-megaconstellation/)”:


Rule No. 1: build new tech fast

Rule No. 2: automate selectively

Rule No. 3: leave room for failure


This set of rules highlights a major shift in an industry where the timeframe between mission design and start of operations used to reach a decade, an industry where hardware specifications were written in stone in early design phases and never questioned afterward, and an industry where a failure of a minor sub-component could cause a billion-dollar loss. SpaceNews’ list outlines a design approach focused on the short-term sustainability of the constellation.

I believe we should add a couple rules to this list to ensure long-term business durability in space. I’m glad to notice that the operators of some of the most demanding constellations are already taking them into account.


Rule No. 4: as long as your tech is in orbit, it is your responsibility

The performance revolution of small satellites — cubesats in particular — have introduced the concept of “partial failure” in an industry where mission success used to be an “all-or-nothing” matter. The recent launch of the first batch of Starlink satellites demonstrates that nowadays it is possible to launch 60 spacecraft, lose a few of them, and still claim a victory because the performance data and lessons learned gathered from their failure far outweigh the cost connected to their loss. This is probably a valid example of Rule No. 3 “leave room for failure.”

However, at a time when a dozen companies are planning to populate Earth’s orbit with competing megaconstellations, a 5 percent mortality rate — still to be demonstrated — can rapidly produce several hundred defunct objects drifting along business viable orbits, raising the cost of operations of the remaining operational satellites, jeopardizing the business model, and increasing collision risk for everyone.

While the design of a constellation can tolerate a 5 percent mortality rate, it is essential that mission planners specify a way to get those failed satellites out of the way, whether with a backup decommissioning system, an active debris removal (ADR) mission, or what I believe would be the more effective solution from an economic and business point of view: a mixed strategy that combines orbit clearance via a small, independent, and reliable decommissioning system capable to move the defunct satellite out of the way, and a satellite design ready for ADR. Besides the moral imperative to leave the orbit clean, the cost of these solutions is likely to repay itself several times in terms of operational cost savings and increased spacecraft lifetime.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s proposed rule “Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age” already investigates some forms of economic incentive to satellite operators that adopt a decommissioning system on their satellites.

Besides that, the satellites of some of the megaconstellations mentioned in the article have enough propellant to allow end-of-life disposal in one-tenth of the time currently required by the IADC’s 25-year guideline, are designed to be serviced and removed by ADR, and have room on board for independent and autonomous decommissioning systems to be used for orbit clearance.


Rule No. 5: your mission is over only after proper decommissioning

With Rule No. 2, “Automate selectively,” SpaceNews describes SpaceX’s and OneWeb’s plan to partially automate operations, with emphasis on automatic collision avoidance. While this is undoubtedly a smart move, I believe that responsible operators should also do their best to prevent a massive creation of further defunct satellites that could challenge even the best automatic system of this kind, jeopardizing, once again, the economy of the space business.

Disposal into a graveyard orbit has been an essential part of GEO missions for decades, justified by the finite nature of this precious orbit. In the era of megaconstellations, the polar orbit region is the new GEO, a strategic resource whose clearance is a common responsibility. Therefore, no megaconstellation should be built without giving proper thought to end-of-life disposal.


Final Thoughts

As NewSpace companies, we are pioneering a new way of using space for business. The earliest NewSpace entities have been changing the traditional paradigms on many fronts: design, manufacturing, performance, and business model. The most recent ones are enabling the economic sustainability of the space business, offering services like orbital transportation and servicing.

Most of the industrial and business sectors on Earth feature a similar value chain. While the concept of a self-sustaining “cradle-to-cradle” design is making more and more economic sense for businesses on Earth, in space we are not yet systematically applying the “cradle-to-graveyard” approach.

We are in a transitional phase where the space market is experiencing an unbounded exponential growth. While it may be too early to promote the “cradle-to-cradle” design approach — at least from an economic point of view — it is definitely the right approach that we, the NewSpace companies, should aim at. In the meantime, “cradle-to-graveyard” is already a convenient first step.

In the words of University of California professor Carlo M. Cipolla’s famous essay “The Five Universal Laws of Human Stupidity,” doing nothing is like “damaging others while generating losses for ourselves.”


Luca Rossettini is CEO of D-Orbit, a Como, Italy-based company whose products and services cover the entire lifecycle of a space mission, including mission analysis and design, engineering, manufacturing, integration, testing, launch, and end-of-life decommissioning.

Source: https://spacenews.com/od-ed-two-more-rules-for-building-a-megaconstellation/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Sierpień 10, 2019, 07:12
OneWeb founder Wyler calls for responsible smallsat operations
by Jeff Foust — August 6, 2019 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Wyler_Small-sat-KJ-080519-0788-copy-879x485.jpg)
OneWeb founder Greg Wyler delivers the opening keynote address Aug. 5 at the 33rd Annual Conference on Small Satellites in Logan, Utah. Credit: Keith Johnson for SpaceNews

“I’m really not a fan of just launching stuff in space to raise money, and launching stuff in space that’s not finished or not ready or vetted,” OneWeb founder Greg Wyler said, in an apparent reference to SpaceX.

LOGAN, Utah — The founder of broadband megaconstellation company OneWeb urged the smallsat industry to operate responsibly in orbit, warning that failed satellites and collisions could result in stifling government regulation.

In an Aug. 5 keynote address at the Conference on Small Satellites here, Greg Wyler contrasted OneWeb’s emphasis on building reliable satellites and avoiding the creation of orbital debris with unnamed companies that he fears may sacrifice reliability in a rush to get their satellites launched.

“I’m really not a fan of just launching stuff in space to raise money, and launching stuff in space that’s not finished or not ready or vetted,” he said. “You should not be throwing up hundreds and hundreds of kilograms of mass that just becomes a missile.”

Wyler didn’t identify by name any companies that are launching satellites in that way, but his comments appeared to be a veiled reference to SpaceX and its Starlink constellation. SpaceX launched its first 60 Starlink satellites in May, and later reported at least three had failed. The company also raised a $310 million funding round about a month after that launch.

“To not sit and think about longer-term ramifications of what you’re doing is just irresponsible,” he said. “We had a team on space debris from day one.”

Wyler argued that OneWeb is trying to be a responsible operator by focusing on the reliability of its satellites, avoiding failures that prevent from the company from deorbiting them. The first six OneWeb satellites, launched in February, are 100% functional, he said.. “We’re really, really happy with them.”

With a completion of a new factory in Florida, the company is preparing to launch its initial constellation of 650 satellites in batches of 34 to 36 each. Those launches will take place monthly, starting in December, on Soyuz rockets.

Wyler said he was worried, though, about the effects on OneWeb and the industry should there be another collision like the Iridium-Cosmos event a decade ago. “If we have a couple of satellites collide, you’re going to see regulations and you’re going to see it fast, and it’s going to make no sense at all,” he warned.

He added he wasn’t concerned about competing with what he estimated to be at least 150 other proposed satellite constellations as long as they adopted a similar approach to space operations. “We welcome lots of people to come and join and do this,” he said. “I just want them all to do it safely.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-founder-wyler-calls-for-responsible-smallsat-operations/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Sierpień 10, 2019, 07:13
OneWeb disputes Virgin Orbit lawsuit, says LauncherOne is too expensive
by Caleb Henry — August 8, 2019 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/LauncherOne-879x485.jpeg)
OneWeb says Virgin Orbit's dispute overlooks contract modifications made two years ago. Credit: Virgin Orbit

WASHINGTON — Megaconstellation startup OneWeb asked a court to dismiss a June lawsuit by Virgin Orbit, claiming that it doesn’t accurately portray a 2015 launch contract.

Virgin Orbit, whose LauncherOne small launch vehicle is nearing a maiden flight, sued OneWeb for cancelling in June 2018 all but four of 39 launches it had purchased (https://spacenews.com/virgin-orbit-takes-oneweb-to-court-over-canceled-launch-contract/).

Virgin Orbit asserted that OneWeb owed $46.32 million of a $70 million termination fee.

OneWeb, in an Aug. 5 filing to the District Court of the Southern District of New York, said Virgin Orbit overlooked a 2017 contract amendment allowing earlier launch payments to apply to the fee.

OneWeb said it already paid Virgin Orbit more than $66 million, of which only $18 million went towards launches that are still expected to happen.

“Virgin has received more than $48 million for future launch services that Virgin will no longer need to provide,” OneWeb said.

In its court filing, OneWeb said the $6 million price tag for a LauncherOne mission is two to three times current market prices.

OneWeb told the court that Virgin Orbit’s assessment it would make between $234 million and $832 million conducting launches for OneWeb overstates the value of the contract.

The original contract, OneWeb claims, allowed for termination without cause, and for prior payments to apply to the termination fee. Those contract termination rules, and the fact that Virgin Orbit has yet to conduct any LauncherOne missions, invalidate Virgin Orbit’s revenue expectations, according to OneWeb.

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne is designed to launch 300 kilograms to a 500-kilometer orbit — enough to potentially carry two OneWeb satellites, depending on the weight of adaptors and supporting equipment.

European launch provider Arianespace launched the first six OneWeb satellites on a Soyuz rocket in February. OneWeb said Aug. 7 it succeeded in bringing its Ku- and Ka-band spectrum into use per International Telecommunication Union rules with those satellites, ensuring spectrum access for the larger constellation.

The majority of OneWeb’s initial 648-satellite constellation is projected to launch on Soyuz rockets 34 to 36 at a time. OneWeb has in the past described Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne as playing a support role while Arianespace Soyuz rockets complete the bulk of its constellation deployment.


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-disputes-virgin-orbit-lawsuit-says-launcherone-is-too-expensive/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 03, 2019, 23:25
Can satellite megaconstellations be responsible users of space?
by Jeff Foust — September 3, 2019
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Weiler_horizontal_Small-sat-KJ-080519-0746-380x253.jpg)
“I’m really not a fan of just launching stuff in space to raise money and launching stuff in space that’s not finished or not ready and vetted,” OneWeb founder Greg Wyler said at the 2019 Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah, last month. Credit: Keith Johnson for SpaceNews

For many in the space industry, so-called “megaconstellations” of communications satellites are the next big thing. Such systems have the potential to provide services from tracking planes and ships to offering broadband internet access more effectively than existing satellite systems or terrestrial alternatives. They offer a feel-good story about connecting the world as well as the promise of lucrative revenue streams.

For others in the space industry, and some outside of it, megaconstellations are the next big thing to worry about. The prospect of thousands — potentially more than 10,000, depending on what systems actually get launched — of satellites in low Earth orbit raises concerns about collisions and the creation of orbital debris that could render such orbits all but useless for any satellite.

Then there are the unintended, and unanticipated, consequences of such systems. Astronomers discovered one of them shortly after SpaceX launched the first 60 of its Starlink satellites in May. In the days immediately after launch, the satellites were easily visible to the naked eye and showing up on long-exposure images as bright streaks. The thought of thousands of such satellites caused astronomers to shudder.

“I think it’s commendable and very impressive engineering,” said Megan Donahue, president of the American Astronomical Society, in a June statement about the Starlink satellites. “But I, like many astronomers, am very worried about the future of these new bright satellites.”


ONEWEB’S VISION OF “RESPONSIBLE SPACE”

One megaconstellation company is trying to address the criticism regarding such systems by explaining how it intends to safely operate in space, setting a standard it hopes others in the industry will follow.

In June, OneWeb rolled out a new initiative called “Responsible Space.” That effort included a website with a clever URL (www.responsible.space) that outlines its overall philosophy and specific approaches to safe operations in space. “We are dedicated to the idea that space is a shared natural resource which, if used responsibly, can help transform the way we live, work and interact,” the company states on that site.

“We always want to have a mindset towards sustainability and protecting the environment,” said Michael Lindsay, head of advanced mission design at OneWeb, discussing the Responsible Space initiative at the NewSpace 2019 conference in July.

Responsible Space represents “the practices and operations that we use, the designs, to make sure that we’re mindful of the potential impacts of utilizing space,” he explained. “The whole goal is to minimize the potential for harm to the environment.”

That approach has three distinct elements. One is what OneWeb describes as “responsible design and operational practices.” That includes the design of the satellites themselves to maximize reliability and maneuverability, as well as the operations of individual satellites and the overall constellation.

“We’re not launching something with a high chance of failure on orbit,” Lindsay said of the company’s satellites, which will undergo extensive testing before launch. “Once it fails in orbit, it becomes everybody else’s problem, and we don’t view that as acceptable.”

That approach also covers the design of the constellation. OneWeb chose an altitude of 1,200 kilometers for its satellites in part because there is a “nice minimum” in the population of existing satellites and debris at that latitude, he said, compared to more congested conditions at altitudes of 800 to 900 kilometers. (Another advantage is that the company needs fewer satellites at that higher altitude to provide global coverage.)

That concept extends to the disposal of satellites at the end of their lifetimes. “We have a high degree of reliability on the system that allows us to deorbit,” he said, such that it could still operate even if the rest of the satellite malfunctions. The goal is to remove a satellite from orbit within five years of the end of its mission, a fraction of the 25-year time frame in existing orbital debris mitigation guidelines.

A second element of Responsible Space is developing what OneWeb calls an “ecosystem” within the space industry that supports space sustainability. Lindsay argued that creating business opportunities for companies can be more compelling that simply forcing them to follow government regulations.

“If you develop an ecosystem that supports and promotes sustainable behaviors and even creates new business opportunities out of sustainability, then it becomes much more attractive,” he said.

For example, OneWeb plans to include a grapple fixture on its satellites in the event one of its satellites is unable to deorbit itself. “A third-party satellite could mate with our satellite, grab it and tug it out of orbit, even when our satellite is non-responsive,” he said.

Companies like Astroscale are developing technologies for what’s known as active debris removal, and such an interface could make their jobs easier. Lindsay said OneWeb plans to make schematics of that interface publicly available to support such companies as they develop their debris-removal spacecraft.

The final element of Responsible Space deals with collaboration with other space operators, from sharing information on the orbits of each others’ satellites to broader policy issues. It’s an acknowledgment that, no matter what OneWeb does, space sustainability will require cooperation with other companies and governments.

“Ultimately, if one company or operator is doing something that they think is responsible,” Lindsay said, “it’s not effective unless all the others are operating with the same amount of responsibility and awareness. Everybody has to be on the same page.”


COMPARE AND CONTRAST

OneWeb has taken a variety of approaches to promote Responsible Space. Besides conference appearances and its website, the company sponsored an invitation-only workshop by the Secure World Foundation in June about “norms of behavior” in space. However, a three-page summary of the report, released by Secure World in August, didn’t reveal any breakthroughs on promoting such norms.

The biggest evangelist for the gospel of Responsible Space, though, is OneWeb’s founder, Greg Wyler, who rarely misses an opportunity to bring up his company’s commitment to space sustainability. That included discussing it at the July 22 grand opening of the new factory in Florida that will soon produce two OneWeb satellites a day.

“We can’t go connect every school in the world and bring broadband to all the rural communities if we do it in an unsafe way,” he said, emphasizing OneWeb’s commitment to high-reliability satellites. “If we mess it up, if satellites start failing and they start crashing, there’s virtually no way to clean up the mess.”

The concept got an endorsement at the same event from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “We particularly commend OneWeb for your Responsible Space initiative,” he said in remarks before Wyler’s speech. He called OneWeb’s plans to promptly deorbit satellites “an elegant solution to a key part of the debris problem.”

Wyler’s strongest comments about Responsible Space came in a keynote he gave Aug. 5 at the annual Conference on Small Satellites at Utah State University. Speaking to a standing-room-only audience, he discussed space sustainability along with the history of OneWeb and its satellite deployment plans.

He used the speech, and the question-and-answer session that followed, to not only talk about OneWeb was doing but also to subtly — or perhaps not so subtly — criticize other companies that he felt weren’t taking the issue seriously.

“I’m really not a fan of just launching stuff in space to raise money and launching stuff in space that’s not finished or not ready and vetted,” he said. “You should not be throwing up hundreds and hundreds of kilograms of mass that just becomes a missile.”

He never named the company or organization he was referring to, but to many in the audience he appeared to be criticizing SpaceX. A company spokesperson reported a month after the first Starlink launch that three of the 60 satellites were had stopped communicating with the ground and “are no longer in service.” Around the time of that update, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan announced it was investing in SpaceX, part of a round estimated to raise $310 million.

During that Q&A session, one person brought up astronomers’ concerns about the visibility of satellite megaconstellations based on the experience with SpaceX. “We’ve thought about it,” Wyler responded, describing steps the company took to minimize the brightness of its satellites in the night sky. “To not sit and think about longer-term ramifications of what you’re doing is just irresponsible.”

SpaceX argues that it, too, seeks to be responsible in space. “Due to their design and low orbital position, all five deorbiting satellites will disintegrate once they enter Earth’s atmosphere in support of SpaceX’s commitment to a clean space environment,” a SpaceX spokesperson said in June about the three satellites that failed and two others the company was intentionally deorbiting to test their propulsion systems.

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk separately said the company was looking at ways to lower the albedo, or reflectivity, of future Starlink satellites to reduce their brightness, which decreased as most of the satellites moved into their higher operational orbits.

A SpaceX official, speaking on background, acknowledged that the initial batch of Starlink satellites was something of an experiment, pushing their capabilities to the limit. “Our learnings here, however, are key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service.” Musk, before the launch, told reporters that it was possible some satellites could fail and even a “small possibility that all of the satellites will not work.”

Watching these developments and debates by OneWeb and SpaceX is someone with a lot of experience with satellite constellations: Matt Desch, chief executive of Iridium. Speaking at the Secure World Foundation’s Summit for Space Sustainability in late June, he said he, too, was worried about the reliability of satellites being launched by megaconstellations, fearing that some will malfunction and become “rocks” in orbit.

“What if you launch 1,000 satellites, 5,000 satellites, 12,000 satellites?” he asked. “Say, 10% create rocks. We are creating an environment that may make LEO an environment that isn’t sustainable.”

Desch, though, endorsed a modification to SpaceX’s FCC license before that first launch, allowing the company to operate its satellites at an altitude of 550 kilometers versus 1,150 kilometers as originally planned. SpaceX says that the lower altitude will reduce latency, but Desch noted that the lower altitude means the satellites will naturally deorbit within a few years even if they malfunction.

“I’m just thrilled they made that decision,” he said. “It’s a very responsible decision.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/can-satellite-megaconstellations-be-responsible-users-of-space/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 22, 2019, 08:00
Intelsat sues OneWeb, SoftBank citing breach of contract, fraud, conspiracy to steal information [SN]
by Debra Werner — September 20, 2019

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/OneWeb-Satellites-rendition-of-a-OneWeb-satellite-879x485.png)
Artist's rendition of a OneWeb satellite in low Earth orbit. Credit: OneWeb Satellites

SAN FRANCISCO – Intelsat filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court claiming OneWeb and its largest investor SoftBank breached contracts, committed fraud and conspired to steal confidential and proprietary information.

The nine-count lawsuit filed Sept. 10 stems from Intelsat’s $25 million investment in OneWeb, subsequent cooperation agreements and the unsuccessful merger of the two parties. Intelsat is seeking unspecified compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and a halt to OneWeb and SoftBank actions that violate their agreements with Intelsat.

Intelsat’s 2015 investment in OneWeb was contingent upon a commercial agreement giving Intelsat customers access to OneWeb communications services, according to the complaint. The companies signed an agreement in late 2015 that made Intelsat the “sole and exclusive worldwide and regional distributor” of OneWeb communications services to customers in four markets: aviation, maritime, oil and gas, and the U.S. government, the complaint added.

At the time, OneWeb planned to focus its business on offering broadband access to consumers around the world and providing communications services in underserved geographic areas.

In 2016, SoftBank invested nearly $1 billion in OneWeb, acquiring a 40 percent stake in the company, according to the complaint. Then, “in willful breach” of OneWeb’s agreement with Intelsat, OneWeb agreed to let SoftBank purchase 100 percent of its future satellite capacity and appointed SoftBank as its exclusive global distributor of communications services, the complaint said. The agreements between OneWeb and SoftBank were “never discussed or cleared with Intelsat,” the complaint added.

When Intelsat objected in 2016, OneWeb, SoftBank and Intelsat agreed to amend the original cooperation agreement between OneWeb and Intelsat. Under the new agreement, Intelsat would maintain “exclusive distribution rights” but would procure OneWeb communications services through SoftBank, according to the complaint.

Based on this agreement, Intelsat provided “financial, technical and other support to OneWeb,” the complaint said. “Intelsat also disclosed, at OneWeb and SoftBank’s behest, proprietary, confidential technical and customer information” related to the four markets Intelsat planned to target, the complaint added.

In 2017, while the parties were discussing ways to offer customers access to both OneWeb’s and Intelsat’s communications services, they began to discuss a merger, according to the complaint. Under the proposed merger, SoftBank would “invest up to $1.5 billion in Intelsat,” which would combine with OneWeb to form a single satellite provider, the complaint said. That transaction, which was contingent upon changes in Intelsat’s debt, fell apart in June 2017 when Intelsat’s debt holders did not agree to the deal.

After the merger failed, OneWeb and SoftBank discussed the possibility of establishing a relationship that extended beyond the four markets listed in Intelsat’s original agreement with OneWeb, according to the complaint. For example, they contemplated joint marketing of combined communications services for the connected vehicle market, the complaint said.

Those discussions continued beyond March 31, 2018, a date listed in the amended agreement between OneWeb, SoftBank and Intelsat. That document said SoftBank agreed to sell OneWeb Services to Intelsat “pursuant to a master service agreement to be negotiated and agreed between Intelsat and SoftBank on or prior to March 31, 2018,” according to the complaint.

Although that date passed, “at no point during the parties’ negotiations” did anyone say the cooperation agreement between OneWeb, Intelsat and SoftBank “had been terminated, abandoned or was of no continuing effect or force,” according to the complaint.

However, Intelsat’s dialogue with SoftBank stopped suddenly in April 2018, the complaint said. At the time, SoftBank “was actively seeking to sell its investment in OneWeb,” the complaint added.

In February 2019, OneWeb informed Intelsat it “no longer believed the parties’ discussions about a broader commercial arrangement would be fruitful,” according to the complaint. Intelsat then received a “cease and desist letter” in July 2019 from OneWeb, demanding that Intelsat “refrain from representing to distributors that Intelsat possessed any exclusive distribution rights” to OneWeb capacity in specific markets, the complaint said.

Prior to sending that letter, OneWeb was already negotiating for the purchase and resale of its capacity with distributors and customers, according to the complaint.

On its website, OneWeb lists four markets it intends to serve: aviation, maritime, enterprise and government customers. By focusing on aviation, maritime and government customers, OneWeb “has deprived Intelsat of the exclusive distribution rights it is entitled to,” the complaint said.

Furthermore, Intelsat claims that OneWeb “has made improper competitive use of Intelsat’s confidential information” and that OneWeb and SoftBank “conspired to utilize Intelsat’s confidential and proprietary information” for purposes other than carrying out their agreement with Intelsat, according to the complaint.


Source: https://spacenews.com/intelsat-sues-oneweb-softbank/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 09, 2020, 19:14
OneWeb plans April launch break to tweak satellite design
by Caleb Henry — February 6, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Steckel___DSC00137-879x485.jpg)
OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel in February 2019 speaking at the Guiana Space Center ahead of OneWeb’s first launch, an Arianespace Soyuz mission that delivered six satellites to low Earth orbit Credit: SpaceNews/Caleb Henry

WASHINGTON — Deployment of OneWeb’s constellation of nearly 650 global broadband satellites is slated to begin in earnest Thursday when it launches its first 34 satellites built at the company’s Florida factory.

But instead of launching at least 30 more satellites each month until achieving global coverage sometime in 2021, OneWeb now says it intends to pause its launch campaign for a month after one more launch planned for March. Additional short pauses are envisioned after launches planned for May and June expand the constellation to around 140 satellites.

“In April we’re taking a breather because we’ve done a redesign on one of the elements, and we want to give ourselves some time to produce it,” OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said in an interview.

He said the April pause won’t delay achieving global coverage by the end of 2021 as previously planned.

Steckel did not name which element OneWeb resigned, but described the required hardware changes as “minor modifications.” He said the company already completed some changes, most of which involve software used to control the satellites, driven by what OneWeb learned from operating its first six-satellite batch that launched nearly a year ago.

Thursday’s launch, an Arianespace-provided Soyuz mission delayed from December, is scheduled to lift off at 4:42 p.m. EST Thursday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The 34 satellites on board Thursday’s launch will join the six French-built satellites launched last February, and were expected to kick off a monthly launch cadence intended to put up at least 588 satellites before the end of 2021.

While that’s still OneWeb’s goal, Steckel said the company is not wedded to monthly launches to achieve it. After the launches now planned for March, May and June, OneWeb’s launch schedule gets hazy.

“We’re probably going to do these on a monthly cadence, [but] we may take some months off and then double up,” Steckel said. “We’re playing around with that.”

Whether OneWeb establishes a steady once-a-month launch cadence or opts for more of a surge-and-pause approach after the May and June campaigns, Steckel said the company will take an indefinite launch hiatus once it has 588 satellites in low Earth orbit — the minimum needed to provide global service. Reaching that milestone is expected to take 17 or 18 more Soyuz launches, plus one Ariane 6 mission, he said.

“We need 588 for service, and then we have spares,” he said. “The question is how quickly we want to get those spares up.”

OneWeb’s full initial constellation is 648 satellites, of which 60 are spares. Slowing deployment once the constellation reaches 588 satellites could help OneWeb conserve cash just as the initial global service goes live.

OneWeb has contracts with Arianespace of Evry, France, for 20 Soyuz launches plus the inaugural flight of the Ariane 6 rocket late this year.

OneWeb is building its constellation of hundreds, and potentially thousands, of satellites in Merritt Island, Florida, at a brand-new factory operated by OneWeb Satellites, its joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space. Steckel said the factory reached its target production rate of two satellites per day in January.

Steckel said OneWeb delayed Thursday’s launch from December because of delays getting the OneWeb Satellites factory up to full production levels. He said there was a larger than expected learning curve from building the first 10 satellites at an Airbus factory in France to producing two satellites per day at the dedicated factory OneWeb Satellites opened in Florida last year.

“We’ve gotten the kinks out and we’re ready to go,” he said. OneWeb Satellites will continue production “whether or not we’re launching immediately,” he said.

“We feel really good about these satellites, and we’re looking forward to having another set of satellites ready before the end of the month for March,” he said.

Steckel said the electric thrusters and solar power systems on OneWeb’s first satellites have exceeded expectations.

Steckel said the number of satellites launched per Soyuz mission is determined by the location of the launch site. Soyuz launches from French Guiana or Kazakhstan will carry 34 satellites, while launches from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s far east will carry 36 satellites, he said.

Arianespace’s Ariane 6 flight, now targeted for sometime between October and December, will carry 30 OneWeb spacecraft.

Steckel said OneWeb still hasn’t decided if it will build 900 first-generation satellites, as planned in 2016 (https://spacenews.com/airbus-and-oneweb-form-joint-venture-to-build-900-satellites/), or if it will halt at 648 before starting a second generation.

The company is ultimately planning a constellation of 1,980 satellites, having recently asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to grant market access for that number of satellites.

Steckel said OneWeb’s first goal is to reach global coverage, after which it will add more satellites to layer on capacity.

OneWeb announced in January it is working with British and Israeli antenna company Satixfy on digital payload technology that would allow satellites to steer capacity as needed to respond to customer demand. Steckel said OneWeb is working with Satixfy and others on technology for a series of “phase 2” satellites focused on adding capacity.

“Obviously there have been advances in payloads, and we are going to take advantage of that,” he said.

Satixfy CEO Yoel Gat said by email that the company will have components on a single OneWeb satellite expected to launch in 2021.

Steckel said OneWeb is not worried that SpaceX surpassed it in satellites launched. SpaceX now has 242 satellites in orbit for Starlink, a broadband constellation that could number 12,000 or even 42,000 satellites.

Steckel said he believes OneWeb’s business plan differs significantly enough from SpaceX that both can coexist.

“They are focused on broadband to the home; we’re focused on connecting people all over the place and on coverage,” he said. “I think there is an opportunity for both companies to be successful.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-plans-april-launch-break-to-tweak-satellite-design/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 09, 2020, 19:15
OneWeb’s first large batch of satellites launch on Arianespace Soyuz rocket
by Caleb Henry — February 6, 2020 [SN]
Updated Feb. 7 at 12:05 a.m. Eastern after payload separation.

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Screen-Shot-2020-02-06-at-4.44.09-PM-879x485.png)
Arianespace launched the second of 21 Soyuz missions it has under contract for OneWeb. Credit: Arianespace webcast

WASHINGTON — A Soyuz rocket launched 34 small broadband satellites for OneWeb Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, marking the beginning of a multi-launch campaign for the company.

The Russian rocket, whose launch was arranged by European launch provider Arianespace, lifted off at 4:43 p.m. Eastern on a mission lasting three hours and 45 minutes.

The first two OneWeb’s spacecraft deployed about an hour and 10 minutes after liftoff. The rest deployed in groups of four about once every 20 minutes, with Soyuz’s Fregat upper-stage engine conducting brief firings in between each deployment. Arianespace confirmed all satellites separated in a news release issued around 9:41 p.m. Eastern.

The Soyuz upper stage used a dispenser supplied by Ruag Space to release the satellites at 450 kilometers. From there, each 150-kilogram satellite will use onboard electric propulsion to climb to their 1,200-kilometer operational orbit.

The launch expands OneWeb’s constellation of low Earth orbiting satellites to 40, following a Soyuz launch last February that carried six satellites.

Adrian Steckel, OneWeb’s chief executive, told SpaceNews the company has another batch of 34 satellites launching from Baikonur in March before the company plans to take a monthlong break to implement spacecraft software and hardware changes. After that pause, OneWeb plans to launch once in May and once in June before potentially shifting out of a monthly launch cadence, he said.

Steckel said OneWeb still plans to achieve global coverage by the end of 2021. The company is building its satellites in Florida through a joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space called OneWeb Satellites.

Counting Thursday’s launch, OneWeb plans to conduct a total of 17 or 18 Soyuz launches and one Ariane 6 launch with Arianespace to orbit 588 satellites before the end of next year, Steckel said. After those launches, OneWeb will pause again before deciding a schedule for launching 60 spares, completing the 648-satellite first-generation constellation, he said.

Arianespace is launching the vast majority of OneWeb’s first-generation constellation using Soyuz rockets from Europe’s Guiana Space Center in South America and Russia’s Baikonur and Vostochny Cosmodromes. Thursday’s OneWeb launch is Arianespace’s first mission from Baikonur in seven years, and marks the 50 Soyuz launch the Evry, France-based company has provided.


Source: https://spacenews.com/arianespace-launches-first-large-batch-of-oneweb-satellites-on-soyuz-rocket/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 09, 2020, 19:17
Successful Soyuz launch deploys 34 satellites for OneWeb network
February 7, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]
EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated with confirmation of acquisition of signal from all 34 satellites.

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/2969568754.jpg)
A Soyuz-2.1b rocket lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with 34 OneWeb broadband satellites on-board. Credit: Roscosmos

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan — A Russian Soyuz launcher fired into orbit from the remote steppe of Kazakhstan Thursday with 34 satellites built on Florida’s Space Coast, commencing a sequence of launches to deploy a network of nearly 650 spacecraft for a global broadband network owned by OneWeb.

The launch Thursday was the first of up to 10 OneWeb missions this year, each carrying from 32 to 36 OneWeb satellites into orbit from spaceports in Kazakhstan, Russia and French Guiana. By next year, when OneWeb aims to have at least 648 satellites in orbit, the company plans to begin providing global Internet service.

Limited service could begin before the end of this year, according to OneWeb.

The 15-story Soyuz-2.1b rocket climbed away from the Site 31 launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 2142:41 GMT (4:42:41 p.m. EST) Thursday and shot through an overcast cloud layer in the predawn skies over Kazakhstan, where liftoff occurred at 2:42 a.m. local time Friday.

Kerosene-fueled engines generated more than 900,000 pounds of thrust to power the Soyuz launcher off the launch pad. Within two minutes, four liquid-fueled first stage boosters shut down and jettisoned, and the Soyuz core stage switched off and separated nearly five minutes after liftoff.

Moments after the third stage engine ignited, the Soyuz shed its clamshell-like aerodynamic payload shroud. The third stage deployed a Fregat upper stage on a preliminary suborbital trajectory more nine minutes into the mission, completing the role of the Soyuz rocket for the mission.

The main engine of the Fregat upper stage ignited two times to place the 34 OneWeb satellites into a targeted polar orbit roughly 280 miles (450 kilometers) above Earth, with an inclination of 87.4 degrees to the equator.

Then began a series of deployments to release the 34 OneWeb satellites from a composite dispenser, or connecting interface, made by RUAG Space in Sweden.

First, two of the 325-pound (147.5-kilogram) satellites separated from the top of the cluster. The remaining 32 spacecraft separated in groups of four at intervals of approximately 20 minutes, with maneuvers by the Fregat’s smaller attitude control thrusters in between to ensure the satellites did not collide.

The satellite separation events largely occurred when the Fregat was outside the range of ground tracking stations. Officials from OneWeb and Arianespace — which arranged Thursday’s launch under contract to OneWeb — updated the status of the deployment sequence as they received data from the Fregat upper stage.

The last group of OneWeb satellites flew off the Fregat’s dispenser around 3 hours, 45 minutes into the mission. About an hour later, officials received telemetry data confirming the deployment of all 34 satellites.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/EQIk5v7XUAIvKac.jpeg)
This image from an animation produced by Arianespace illustrates the process of deploying the OneWeb satellites from the Fregat upper stage’s dispenser. Credit: Arianespace

Later Friday, ground teams at OneWeb’s satellite operations center received signals from all 34 satellites after several passes over ground stations.

The spacecraft were manufactured on assembly lines at a new factory operated by OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defense and Space, near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“This is a very significant launch for us, and I think this launch and really the next launch are critical because it will show the success that we’ve had with OneWeb Satellites, the joint venture between us and Airbus, and getting the assembly line approach actually working,” said Adrian Steckel, CEO of London-based OneWeb. “I think the 34 satellites that are on this one are a demonstration that after many months of work, we can get up to that rate.”

“The real proof will be when we have 34 satellites for Launch No. 3 ready by Feb. 17 or so and shipping out to Baikonur. We’re very happy about that,” Steckel said.

The OneWeb satellites, each designed for a minimum of five years of commercial operations, will extend their power-generating solar panels and activate their xenon plasma propulsion systems to begin post-launch checkouts. Each satellite will use its xenon thruster to reach an operational orbit at an altitude of 745 miles (1,200 kilometers) in about five months, where the OneWeb network will spread an initial block of 648 satellites among multiple orbital planes.

OneWeb scaled back the size of its first-generation satellite network in 2018 after finding that the first spacecraft built for the constellation performed better than expected.

But OneWeb has ambitions to grow its broadband fleet to 1,980 satellites to meet higher demand.

Founded by Greg Wyler, a satellite and telecom entrepreneur, OneWeb announced last year that it demonstrated live HD video streaming through the company’s first six satellites launched in February 2019. OneWeb and Iridium, which operates a low Earth orbit network with 66 cross-linked L-band communications and data relay satellites, announced an agreement in September to work toward a combined service offering.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/oneweb_feature.jpg)
OneWeb’s satellites will be spread among multiple orbital planes. Credit: OneWeb

OneWeb is in heated competition in the low-latency satellite broadband market with SpaceX, which has launched 240 Starlink Internet satellites on four dedicated Falcon 9 rocket flights since last May. More than 20 additional Falcon 9 launches — each with around 60 Starlink payloads — could take off before the end of 2020, aside from SpaceX’s launches for other customers.

SpaceX, which builds its satellites in Redmond, Washington, plans to initially launch up to 1,600 satellites on a series of Falcon 9 rockets to fly in 341-mile-high (550-kilometer) orbits. The company, led by billionaire Elon Musk, has approval from the Federal Communications Commission to eventually operate up to 12,000 Starlink broadband satellites.

Documents filed with the International Telecommunication Union last year suggested SpaceX could seek regulatory authority for up to 30,000 additional spacecraft, bringing the Starlink network to some 42,000 satellites.

“Our satellites are at 1,200 kilometers, there’s are at 550,” Steckel said in a pre-launch media briefing in Kazakhstan. “That’s just geometry. Our satellites have a bigger field-of-view. Their system doesn’t give them global coverage, even though they have a lot more satellites, because they’re lower and they do not have inter-satellite links (yet).

“And because ours are higher and we have big ground stations, we’re able to sort of reach over the horizon and guarantee that coverage of the oceans and have global coverage,” Steckel said. “We have (regulatory) filings for thousands of satellites… and they have for tens of thousands of satellites.”

Like OneWeb, SpaceX says it could start serving high-latitude regions the Starlink broadband coverage this year, followed by the inauguration of global service.

SpaceX can launch Starlink satellites on the company’s own Falcon 9 rockets, and the company is using the Starlink program to fill its launch manifest as other sectors of the satellite industry have experienced a downturn.

OneWeb has taken a more traditional satellite development approach with an international supply chain. Gingiss said about half of the parts on each spacecraft come from North America, and the other half come from Europe.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is also investing in the planned Kuiper broadband network that could also number thousands of satellites.

While Starlink and Kuiper are primarily backed by billionaires, OneWeb’s investors include the Japanese company SoftBank, Airbus, Qualcomm and Grupo Salinas. Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is also a OneWeb financial backer.

OneWeb said last March that it had raised $3.4 billion to date to pay for the construction of the network, which is scheduled to begin providing Internet service over the Arctic before the end of 2020, thanks to ground stations already operational in Alaska and Norway.


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Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb. Credit: Arianespace

OneWeb Satellites is producing more than 600 additional satellites for OneWeb on two assembly lines at the company’s Florida factory.

“These are the first built at our high-capacity assembly lines in Florida,” said Tony Gingiss, CEO of OneWeb Satellites. “We’ve been ramping that factory up over the last six to nine months.”

“We’re already midway through the second batch to deliver at the middle of this month, and that is really demonstrating that we can hit roughly 34 satellites a month to deliver to keep the launch cadence that OneWeb wants,” Gingiss said.

Steckel said that there’s room in the global commercial market for both SpaceX and OneWeb because the companies are taking different approaches to their low-latency broadband networks.

“We’re going to be competitive,” Steckel said. “We have a different approach. We’re going to get landing rights (and market access) in places that Starlink won’t. We think there’s 40 percent of the land mass in the world where they won’t and we will. That has to do with our architecture. It also has to do with our approach to doing business. It also has to do with our flag. We’re a UK company. That gives us the ability to try to build a bridge … We have shareholders and support from institutions all around the world.

“We’re also attacking a different part of the marketplace,” he continued. “We’re not going to try to compete against the Comcasts or the Oranges of the world. Over time, what you’ll find is our technologies and their technologies are pretty much the same thing. But the fact that you’re using the same technology doesn’t mean you’re executing the same business model. It’s the difference between being a consumer play or an enterprise play.”

According to Steckel, OneWeb’s network will be more attractive to countries like China and Russia. He said OneWeb’s satellites will relay broadband signals through powerful ground stations, or gateways. The company intends to develop or use around 40 to 45 gateways distributed around the globe.

OneWeb and the government of Kazakhstan have announced plans to put a gateway in Kazakhstan to create a broadband data hub for Central Asia. Steckel said that partnership could be a model for OneWeb’s entry into other markets.

“I don’t believe that sitting back in our office, me and our team will be able to properly manage a global system, and know what does the client want in Madagascar, versus South Africa, versus Brazil, versus Wales, Scotland, or Switzerland,” Steckel said. “You need people locally to implement, and to design the products and sell the product. That goes with the notion of having partners with aligned economics and aligned interests.”

SpaceX’s Starlink network will eventually use laser data links between satellites, enabling the network to route signals around the world without going through ground stations.

“SpaceX has gone out of their way to emphasize that they were going to have inter-satellite links, and that they will have inter-satellite links,” Steckel said. “That is fundamental to the structure of their system, and that is not something that’s acceptable to governments who want to make sure that they have the ability to exercise sovereignty over the Internet.”

“It’s a different business plan,” he said. “Nothing in what I’m saying is a criticism of them. They could be highly successful. We’re playing a different ball game, but we’re both using similar technology.”


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/oneweb.jpg)
Artist’s illustration of a OneWeb satellite. The core structure measures about a meter, or 3 feet, on each side. Credit: OneWeb

Large constellations of satellites like those being deployed by OneWeb and SpaceX have raised concerns about space junk and their interference with ground-based astronomy.

Every OneWeb satellite, including those launched Thursday, has a grapple fixture to allow other spacecraft link up in orbit and bring them back into Earth’s atmosphere to burn up on re-entry.

But that measure would only be used in a worst-case scenario. OneWeb plans to deorbit its satellites after their useful lives are over, using the spacecraft’s plasma propulsion system to lower altitude and re-enter the atmosphere.

SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are brighter than designers predicted, and they are particularly visible soon after each launch, when the spacecraft are at lower altitudes and relatively close together.

SpaceX launched a Starlink satellite with an experimental dark coating in January to see if the change makes the craft less reflective of sunlight. But results from the experiment will not be known until the satellites reaches its operational orbit in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to do the most we can to mitigate (astronomers’ concerns),” Steckel said. “We’re not visible to the naked eye. We are visible to telescopes. It’s hard to get around some of those facts.”

Scientists have also questioned whether constellations of thousands of satellites broadcasting broadband data will interfere with radio astronomy, which uses giant antennas to listen to faint radio signals generated from distant stars and galaxies.

“With respect to radio frequency … we’ll try,” he said. “We’re going to do the most we can. I don’t know if there will be a solution that will make everybody happy. At least we’re in dialog, and we’re trying to get feedback on what can we do.”

OneWeb’s next launch is scheduled for around March 18 on another Soyuz rocket, assuming the factory team in Florida remains on track in assembling and testing the 34 satellites for shipment to Baikonur later this month.

Soyuz launches with more OneWeb satellites later this spring and summer will originate from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in far eastern Russia, near the border with China. There are also more launches for OneWeb planned from the European-run spaceport in French Guiana.

OneWeb inked a launch contract in 2015 for 21 launches with Arianespace, the French launch services provider which oversees commercial Soyuz missions. Arianespace’s subsidiary, Starsem, arranges preparations for the Soyuz missions launching from Baikonur and Vostochny, while Arianespace itself manages Soyuz launches from French Guiana.

Steckel said OneWeb needs around 16 more launches to fill out the company’s network of 588 operational satellites. The company may eventually add at least 60 more spares to get to 648 total spacecraft in the first-generation OneWeb fleet.

“The real important number is 588, which are the operational satellites,” Steckel said. “The 648 number includes 60 spares, and we’re thinking about maybe reducing the number of spares we have up there.”

Fifteen of the additional OneWeb launches will use Soyuz rockets later this year and next year from Baikonur, Vostochny and French Guiana. And OneWeb has agreed to launch at least 30 satellites on the inaugural flight of the next-generation European Ariane 6 rocket from French Guiana at the end of 2020.

Nine more OneWeb launches are scheduled this year.

“This launch … opens a series of up to nine other launches in 2020 for the benefit of OneWeb,” Israel said. “We will have up to six launches from Baikonur and Vostochny, two (Soyuz) from French Guiana … and the Ariane 62 maiden flight by the end of the year.”

Steckel acknowledged that SpaceX’s Starlink satellites, which fly on Falcon 9 rockets with reused first stage boosters, have a lower launch cost than OneWeb.

“Of course, they have a launch cost that is far below mine,” Steckel said.

OneWeb has a contract for four launches on Virgin Orbit’s air-dropped LauncherOne rocket, each with two satellites. But those missions are tailored for adding replacement satellites to the fleet, or filling a gap in the network, not for getting a lot of satellites into orbit quickly.

Steckel said OneWeb is studying plans for a second-generation network, which could bring the constellation to near 2,000 satellites. He said finding a launch provider with an acceptable launch cost will be a big factor in deciding what rockets would send the upgraded satellites into orbit.

“We have conversations with other launch providers,” Steckel said. “We’re obviously already thinking about the next generation, what it looks like as a system, and what the cost of that is, and launch costs will be a big part of it.”

“What I can say is launch costs have come down significantly, and we think that the price per kilogram is coming down,” he said.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/02/07/successful-soyuz-launch-deploys-34-satellites-for-oneweb-network/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 21, 2020, 19:36
OneWeb, SpaceX optimistic about cheap user terminals
by Caleb Henry — March 9, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/OneWeb-model-prototype-antenna-879x485.jpeg)
OneWeb and SpaceX both aim to have low cost user terminals for their constellations. Photo shows a 2019 mock up of a OneWeb flat panel antenna. Credit: SpaceNews/Caleb Henry

WASHINGTON — Executives from SpaceX and OneWeb say their companies are working intensely on user terminals so customers will be able to get internet connectivity from their respective low Earth orbit constellations.

Both companies expect to start regional service in high northern latitudes by the end of the year — OneWeb with around 300 out of 650 satellites, and SpaceX with around 1,500 of an eventual 12,000 satellites — with global service following in 2021.

Dylan Browne, president of OneWeb’s government business unit, said the company is mirroring its satellite manufacturing approach of establishing a broad network of suppliers to build components in mass.


“We have a similar supply chain discussion around our user terminals, producing in such a volume — literally thousands a month — that we can’t have just one vendor,” Browne said.

OneWeb expects to have user terminals between $1,000 to $1,500 for community Wi-Fi services, Browne said.

Community Wi-Fi hotspots are often used to connect internet cafes and public spaces where dozens of devices connect simultaneously to the internet.

OneWeb’s “aspirational” goal for the core antenna chipsets needed to create user terminals for commercial aircraft is $150,000, Browne said.

“That would be about half of what the market price is currently,” he said. “I think we can do that.”

OneWeb has launched 40 satellites to date and has another 34 scheduled to launch later this month. Airbus and OneWeb are building satellites through a joint venture called OneWeb Satellites that Browne said reached a peak output of three satellites in a single day in February.

SpaceX, whose satellites are in a lower orbit that requires more satellites to achieve global coverage, has launched 302 satellites and has another 60 launching March 15, said Jonathan Hofeller, vice president of Starlink commercial sales at SpaceX.

In contrast to OneWeb, SpaceX is building its user terminals in-house, he said.

“The fact that we are manufacturing this in-house does give us the distinct advantage of being able to offer a very low priced terminal,” Hofeller said. “We do not have pricing at this point, but it is something that we know is critical to making this business successful.”

Browne said OneWeb has selected an integration partner for a “compact” electronically steered antenna, though he didn’t name the partner.

OneWeb has described parabolic dish antennas and flat electronically steered antennas as part of its intended user terminal portfolio.

Electronically steered antennas have the benefit of connecting to two or more satellites simultaneously, but have historically been too expensive for consumers. SpaceX has so far only discussed electronically steered antennas, a technology Hofeller said is “extremely difficult” to build at consumer-ready prices.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has described Starlink user terminals as looking like a “thin, flat, round UFO on a stick,” with motors to adjust their pointing.


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-spacex-optimistic-about-cheap-user-terminals/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 21, 2020, 19:37
Soyuz launches 34 OneWeb satellites
by Caleb Henry — March 21, 2020 [SN]
Updated at 6:15 p.m. Eastern after confirmation of payload separation.

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2648352732-879x485.jpg)
Arianespace conducted its third launch for OneWeb March 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: CC Yuzhny/Roscosmos.

WASHINGTON — Arianespace launched 34 small broadband satellites for OneWeb March 21, expanding the startup’s constellation to 74 satellites in low Earth orbit.

Arianespace’s Soyuz rocket lifted off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:06 p.m. Eastern. OneWeb confirmed all 34 satellites separated from the rocket’s Fregat upper stage in a news release issued at 6:10 p.m. Eastern.

OneWeb will use each satellite’s onboard electric propulsion to raise their altitude from their 450-kilometer drop off point to a final 1,200-kilometer orbit.

OneWeb expects to start regional service late this year with around 300 satellites, followed by global service in 2021 with 588 satellites. The company plans to launch 60 spare satellites to complete an initial constellation of 648 spacecraft, but hasn’t decided when those spares will launch.

Adrian Steckel, OneWeb’s chief executive, said in February that the company would take a month long break in April from launching to incorporate a redesigned spacecraft element for future satellites. Subsequent launches, initially planned at a monthly cadence, may be conducted at a more varied pace, he said.

OneWeb has contracts with Arianespace for 22 launches, of which three have occured, counting Saturday’s mission.

The companies have nine more missions planned for this year, though that schedule could be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Three of those missions — two Soyuz and the maiden Ariane 6 flight — are planned from the now-closed Guiana Space Center in South America. Arianespace said March 16 it was suspending launches from French Guiana (https://spacenews.com/arianespace-suspends-french-guiana-launches-amid-coronavirus-response/) following the French government’s call for limiting non-essential activities to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

OneWeb is also reportedly considering bankruptcy, according to (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-19/softbank-s-oneweb-is-said-to-mull-bankruptcy-as-cash-dwindles?sref=vEQJzSks) Bloomberg, because of a shortage of cash. OneWeb spokesperson Heidi Dillard told SpaceNews March 19 the company would not comment on any “rumors or speculation” when asked about the report.

OneWeb had raised $3.4 billion as of February, but has not stated how much the company needs to complete its constellation. In 2017, OneWeb founder Greg Wyler described the company as a $4 billion venture, but that was before the company started building spacecraft.

OneWeb’s satellites, built in Merritt Island, Florida, through a joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space, ended up costing $1 million each — twice as much as OneWeb had hoped.

Roger Rusch, president of the satellite consulting firm TelAstra, told SpaceNews last year that OneWeb likely needs $7.5 billion to complete its constellation (https://spacenews.com/how-oneweb-plans-to-make-sure-its-first-satellites-arent-its-last/). “The realistic number is probably far beyond where they are right now,” he said.


Source: https://spacenews.com/soyuz-launches-34-oneweb-satellites/
Tytuł: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 30, 2020, 13:51
Citing coronavirus, internet satellite company OneWeb files for bankruptcy
Emre Kelly Florida Today Published 11:47 AM EDT Mar 28, 2020 [Florida Today]

(https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2020/03/28/PBRE/49b3a738-ec27-409c-9a9d-271bf3f0fb85-IMG_8404.jpeg?width=1080&quality=50)
A Russian Soyuz rocket launches with OneWeb internet-beaming satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 21. OneWeb

OneWeb, the parent company of an organization that manufactures internet-beaming satellites near Kennedy Space Center, filed for bankruptcy late Friday, citing the coronavirus pandemic as a significant driver behind the decision.

In a release, OneWeb said it filed for Chapter 11 relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York and hoped to sell its business "in order to maximize the value of the company."

"It is with a very heavy heart that we have been forced to reduce our workforce and enter the Chapter 11 process," OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said in a statement, confirming COVID-19 as the main reason. "The company's remaining employees are focused on responsibly managing our nascent constellation and working with the court and investors."

The company did not specify how much of its workforce at the KSC division, located near Blue Origin on Space Commerce Way, would be impacted, but did say there have been layoffs and furloughs. OneWeb is the parent company, while OneWeb Satellites is a separate division that manufactures spacecraft on KSC-owned land outside the center's gates.

Airbus Defense and Space owns half of OneWeb Satellites, while OneWeb owns the other half.

"Like many companies and industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately had a direct negative impact on our business. The resulting economic disruptions are slowing supply chains and are interfering with our ability to travel and fully operate our sites," the local operation said in statement to FLORIDA TODAY.

"A reduction in force is required to maintain our operations," the statement reads. "We are primarily implementing temporary furloughs to have the flexibility to respond to the changing environment."

OneWeb also operates an administrative office in Suntree.

Its neighbor, the KSC Visitor Complex, is also closed and some employees have been told to use paid time off in order to continue getting paychecks.

In its 21-page bankruptcy filing, OneWeb said it by far owes the most money – $238 million – to European launch provider Arianespace. Its next largest obligation, worth $8 million, is to California-based Qualcomm, a semiconductor and telecommunications company. On the Space Coast, the filings show that OneWeb owes USSI Global, based in Melbourne, about $550,000.

The company has also received billions of dollars in investments with SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate, as one of the most prominent.

With 74 satellites already in low-Earth orbit and future launches scheduled, the company has demonstrated the technical feasibility of its small-satellite internet constellation. Users have seen speeds up to 400 Mbps with medium latency, which is roughly comparable to what some customers can get at home.

OneWeb was the first company to receive approval from the Federal Communications Commission for a low-Earth orbit mega-constellation of internet satellites, which are about the size of a mini-fridge. The constellations differ from legacy systems, which have been in operation for decades and operate at high orbits thousands of miles above Earth.

SpaceX is perhaps the most visible example of a company looking to capitalize on the need for worldwide internet access with its Starlink constellation, which already has more than 350 satellites in orbit. It hopes to begin preliminary services for U.S. customers sometime late this year.

But CEO Elon Musk, knowing the history of internet-based internet and its inherent riskiness, said his main goal is to not "go bankrupt." The systems face significant challenges, like upfront development and launch costs, before they can even start providing services.


Source: https://eu.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2020/03/28/citing-coronavirus-oneweb-satellites-ksc-files-bankruptcy/2932056001/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 30, 2020, 13:52
OneWeb files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
by Caleb Henry — March 27, 2020 This story was updated March 28 after OneWeb announced its Chapter 11 filing.  [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/rsz_oneweb_constellation_rendering-e1573578356177-879x485.jpg)
Softbank, having already invested $2 billion in OneWeb, declined to invest more. Credit: OneWeb

WASHINGTON — Satellite internet startup OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday after its largest investor, Softbank, rejected a request for additional funding.

“It is with a very heavy heart that we have been forced to reduce our workforce and enter the Chapter 11 process while the Company’s remaining employees are focused on responsibly managing our nascent constellation and working with the Court and investors,” OneWeb CEO Adrien Steckel said in a news release issued late Friday night (https://www.oneweb.world/media-center/oneweb-files-for-chapter-11-restructuring-to-execute-sale-process).

OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The company had laid off about 85% of its 531 employees prior to filing for bankruptcy.

Softbank, having already invested roughly $2 billion in OneWeb, decided it was the “responsible decision” not to invest further given the startup’s high cash needs, compounded by the global financial instability caused by the coronavirus, one source said.

OneWeb, in its March 27 news release, blamed the coronavirus pandemic for its inability to raise the money it needed to avoid bankruptcy.

“Since the beginning of the year, OneWeb had been engaged in advanced negotiations regarding investment that would fully fund the Company through its deployment and commercial launch,” OneWeb said in the news release. “While the Company was close to obtaining financing, the process did not progress because of the financial impact and market turbulence related to the spread of COVID-19.”

OneWeb, which has been aiming to launch at least 648 satellites to deliver global broadband connectivity, has 74 satellites in orbit following a March 21 launch that put up 34. The U.K.-based company has raised $3.4 billion, but outside analysts estimated the satellite system would require as much as $7.5 billion to complete.

Launch service provider Arianespace tops the list of OneWeb creditors in unsecured claims, with $238 million. OneWeb signed a $1.1 billion contract with Arianespace in 2015 for 21 Soyuz launches. Last year OneWeb signed another contract with Arianespace for the maiden flight of the Ariane 6, with options for two more Ariane 6 missions.

Arianespace has provided three of the contracted launches to date, and was expected to conduct a fourth launch in May.

OneWeb’s top four shareholders are Softbank (37.41%), Qualcomm (15.93%), Greg Wyler’s 1110 Ventures LLC, (11.94%), and Airbus (8.5%).

OneWeb has accumulated more than $1.7 billion in debt, according to one of its March 27 bankruptcy filings.

The bankruptcy filing adds OneWeb to the list of companies that ran out of money trying to launch and operate large numbers of communications satellites into low Earth orbit.

Iridium, Globalstar, Orbcomm and Teledesic all went bankrupt about two decades ago, though only Teledesic failed to emerge from bankruptcy and deploy a second-generation constellation. Filing for Chapter 11 gives companies a chance to emerge from bankruptcy debt free and remain in business, albeit usually with a different ownership structure.


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-files-for-chapter-11-bankruptcy/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] OneWeb’s revival worries astronomers
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 11, 2020, 22:34
OneWeb’s revival worries astronomers
by Jeff Foust — July 7, 2020

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/OneWeb-constellation-screenshot-879x485.jpg)
A constellation of as many as 48,000 OneWeb satellites could pose serious issues for groundbased astronomy, astronomers warned at a conference last week. Credit: OneWeb artist's concept

WASHINGTON — A potential return to operations of satellite megaconstellation company OneWeb is a new source of worry for astronomers who previously had been focused on the effect SpaceX’s Starlink satellites will have on their observations.

OneWeb, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, announced July 3 that the British government and Indian telecom company Bharti Global will provide $1 billion in new funding (https://spacenews.com/british-government-and-bharti-global-buy-oneweb-plan-1-billion-investment-to-revive-company/) to recapitalize the company. That offer is pending approval by a U.S. bankruptcy court at a July 10 hearing.

OneWeb said that the new funding would allow the company to “effectuate the full end-to-end deployment of the OneWeb system,” but didn’t elaborate on those plans. The company suspended launches after the Chapter 11 filing after placing 74 satellites of an initial 650-satellite constellation into orbit. However, in May the company filed a proposal with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission seeking to increase its constellation by 48,000 satellites (https://spacenews.com/astronomers-warn-about-effects-of-other-satellite-megaconstellations/).

The prospect of a recapitalized OneWeb resuming launches of hundreds, or potentially tens of thousands, of satellites is a new concern for astronomers. Those satellites, astronomers said during sessions July 3 of the European Astronomical Society’s annual conference, held online, are a particular concern because of their higher altitudes.

“The big problem is low Earth orbiting satellites much higher than 600 kilometers,” said Tony Tyson, chief scientist for the Vera Rubin Observatory, a wide-field telescope under construction in Chile. The higher a satellite’s altitude, the longer it is visible after sunset and before sunrise. “They’re illuminated all night long in the summertime.”

OneWeb’s satellites operate at an altitude of 1,200 kilometers. While too dim to be seen with the naked eye — they are at approximately eighth magnitude — they are still bright enough to pose a problem for professional astronomers.

“It is clear that a huge constellation of 50,000 satellites at high altitude is the most threatening to visible astronomy,” said Olivier Hainaut, an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory who has modeled the effect of satellite constellations on groundbased astronomy.

At the time of OneWeb’s Chapter 11 filing, the company had only just started to discuss with astronomers the impact of their satellites on observations. A working group of the American Astronomical Society had one teleconference with OneWeb about the topic before the bankruptcy.

Some astronomers said at the conference they will look to the British government, as one of the new owners of OneWeb, to intervene on the subject. “We have not heard anything from the U.K. government,” Hainaut said during a conference session just a few hours after OneWeb announced the deal.

Robert Massey, deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society, said in a press briefing after the conference sessions that OneWeb did participate in a meeting his society held in January on the issue. “We thought they’d disappeared” after their bankruptcy filing. “Then, weirdly, they filed this license application for 48,000 satellites, which took people by surprise.”

“I would hope that the U.K. government uses its leverage that it now has to help ensure that they are good a partner in this and they engage with the astronomy and space science community,” he said.

Waiting on VisorSat

Astronomers at the meeting contrasted OneWeb with SpaceX, whose initial launches of Starlink satellites more than a year first raised the alarm among astronomers about the effect such satellites would have on their observations.

Since the initial Starlink launch in May 2019, astronomers have met regularly with SpaceX, and the company has made efforts to reduce the brightness of its satellites. In January, it launched an experimental satellite dubbed “DarkSat” with darkened surfaces intended to make the satellite less reflective. In June, it started launching “VisorSats,” (https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-eighth-starlink-mission-first-visorsat-satellite/) Starlink satellites equipped with sunshades to block sunlight from hitting reflective surfaces.

The first VisorSat has yet to reach its operational orbit, and thus astronomers can’t yet determine how effective it is. “There are many people who are going to measure it as soon as it is in position,” said Hainaut at the press briefing. “It is a matter of weeks.”

Astronomers hope that VisorSat will be significantly dimmer than unmodified Starlink satellites, with a goal of reaching seventh magnitude. “We are pretty sure that seventh magnitude for the satellite would get us out of woods” in terms of the worst effects the satellites would have on Rubin Observatory observations, Tyson said.

Starlink satellites will still leave a trail on images that will interfere with observations, but Tyson praised SpaceX for making efforts to mitigate the worst effects of the constellation. “It seems like the SpaceX brightness mitigation efforts are on track and actually set an example for the industry to follow,” he said.

Patricia Cooper, SpaceX vice president of satellite government relations, said at the conference that the company has taken other measures to mitigate the effect of Starlink on astronomy, including lowering the altitude of some of its satellites from 1,100 to 550 kilometers, a move that also benefits safety of space operations. “I don’t expect us to fly any of our future satellites at higher altitudes,” she said.

Cooper credited “robust and frank talk” between the company and astronomers, many of whom were sharply critical of Starlink when launches started last year, for driving those improvements. “We’ve done our contribution in raising awareness that constellations can be a problem for astronomy,” she said. “We’re a venture that attracts a lot of attention, for better or worse.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/onewebs-revival-worries-astronomers/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] UK Parliament to scrutinize OneWeb purchase
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 27, 2020, 10:23
UK Parliament to scrutinize OneWeb purchase
by Caleb Henry — July 23, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/OneWeb-Satellites-rendition-of-a-OneWeb-satellite-879x485.png)
Artist's rendition of a OneWeb satellite in low Earth orbit. Credit: OneWeb Satellites

WASHINGTON — A U.K. parliamentary committee said it will review the steps that led to the government’s bid for struggling megaconstellation startup OneWeb, arguing that the $500-million investment decision was rushed and jeopardizes British taxpayer dollars.

Darren Jones, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee in Parliament, said Wednesday that the decision to take a 45% stake in OneWeb appears to have been hurried through before the government could fully evaluate whether it was a smart move.

“This whole decision-making process seems unusual and doesn’t have the transparency that it requires,” he said in a video posted to Twitter. “Therefore, my committee will be holding an inquiry to understand the decision making behind this purchase.”

Jones’ committee oversees the British government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which announced July 3 that it and partner Bharti Global, an Indian telecommunications company, were acquiring OneWeb. Bharti Global is also investing $500 million into OneWeb, which raised $3.4 billion before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

Jones on July 22 released a series of letters between Samantha Beckett, the acting permanent secretary at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Alok Sharma, that department’s Secretary of State. In a letter dated July 8 — five days after the U.K. announced its intent to co-purchase OneWeb — Beckett wrote that she had “insufficient time to make a full assessment of the proposed investment.”

Beckett said while there were “good reasons to proceed” with investing in OneWeb, “it was not possible for me to assure Parliament that the investment represents value for money to the standards expected.”

One week prior to the OneWeb investment, Sharma informed Beckett that he had received approval from Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer (the government’s chief financial minister) to proceed with buying the megaconstellation startup out of bankruptcy.

Sharma said he consulted with the U.K.’s treasury, space agency, members of his department and cabinet officials before pledging to invest in OneWeb, and concluded the government would have a positive return.

Sharma said OneWeb could connect millions of people globally to the internet, and has the added upside of “potentially bringing future manufacturing to the UK.”

OneWeb currently builds its satellites at a purpose-built $85 million factory in Florida with Airbus through the joint venture OneWeb Satellites. Before filing for bankruptcy, OneWeb launched 74 of a planned 648 satellites.

Jones, in announcing the inquiry, took issue with the lack of clarity on if, when and how much of OneWeb’s constellation would be produced in the U.K.

“Using nearly half a billion pounds of tax-payers money to gamble on a ‘commercial opportunity’ whilst still failing to support manufacturing jobs with a sector deal is both troubling and concerning,” Jones said in a July 22 statement.

OneWeb’s bankruptcy court approved its acquisition by the U.K. government and Bharti Global on July 10. The purchase is expected to close late this year.


Source: https://spacenews.com/uk-parliament-to-scrutinize-oneweb-purchase/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb emerges from Chapter 11 with new CEO
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Grudzień 18, 2020, 15:55
OneWeb emerges from Chapter 11 with new CEO
by Jeff Foust — November 20, 2020

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/BAFFF2E4-22A8-4E9B-9E35-075C6A3D7E0D-879x485.jpeg)
With the sale of OneWeb to its new owners now complete, the company says it will resume launches of its satellites with a Soyuz launch scheduled for Dec. 17 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. Credit: GK Launch Services

WASHINGTON — OneWeb announced Nov. 20 that its sale to an ownership group led by Bharti Global and the British government has closed, allowing the company to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a new chief executive.

OneWeb said it had completed “all relevant regulatory approvals,” allowing the sale of the company to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Bharti Global and the British government each own 42.2% of the broadband satellite constellation company, with most the rest owned by SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems.

The completion of sale comes with a change in leadership at the company. OneWeb said that Neil Masterson will take over as chief executive, replacing Adrian Steckel. Masterson comes from outside the space and telecommunications industries, having spent the last 20 years at Thomson Reuters, most recently as co-chief operating officer.

“I am looking forward to helping the OneWeb team deliver and commercialize their vision to provide internet access across the globe,” Masterson said in a company statement. “OneWeb has a strong social purpose to improve the world’s access to information, which I share.”

Steckel, who had been chief executive of OneWeb since September 2018, will remain as an adviser to the company’s board.

Bharti Global and the British government made a winning bid of $1 billion for OneWeb in July (https://spacenews.com/british-government-and-bharti-global-buy-oneweb-plan-1-billion-investment-to-revive-company/), and a U.S. federal bankruptcy court approved the sale Oct. 2 (https://spacenews.com/bankruptcy-court-approves-oneweb-sale/). The company has since then been securing final approvals, such as one by the Federal Communications Commission Oct. 27 to transfer OneWeb’s satellite and ground station licenses (https://spacenews.com/fcc-approves-oneweb-sale-as-starlink-begins-public-beta/) to the company’s new owners.

At a Nov. 18 webinar, Ruth Pritchard-Kelly, vice president for regulatory affairs at OneWeb, predicted that the company would emerge from Chapter 11 “any day now” as it wrapped up the remaining paperwork (https://spacenews.com/oneweb-ready-to-emerge-from-chapter-11/). “Almost every t has been crossed and every i has been dotted,” she said. “Any day now, there will be a final announcement.”

The British government argued that the acquisition of OneWeb fit into a broader strategy to grow the country’s space industry. “This strategic investment demonstrates Government’s commitment to the U.K.’s space sector in the long-term and our ambition to put Britain at the cutting edge of the latest advances in space technology,” U.K. Business Secretary Alok Sharma said in a statement.

For Bharti Global, an Indian telecom company, the deal offers it an opportunity to leverage billions invested by the company’s original stakeholders. “Together with our U.K. Government partner, we recognized that OneWeb has valuable global spectrum with priority rights, and we benefit from $3.3 billion invested to date and from the satellites already in orbit, securing our usage rights,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Global, in that statement.

OneWeb also confirmed that it will resume satellite launches with a Dec. 17 launch of 36 satellites on a Soyuz rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia. The company expects to have its full constellation of about 650 satellites in orbit by the end of 2022, with initial service in Arctic regions starting by late 2021.


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-emerges-from-chapter-11-with-new-ceo/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb optimistic about raising the funding needed
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Grudzień 18, 2020, 15:56
OneWeb optimistic about raising the funding needed to complete its constellation
by Jeff Foust — December 15, 2020

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/oneweb-soyuz-dec2020-879x485.jpg)
A Soyuz rocket carrying 36 OneWeb satellites is readied to roll out to the pad at Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome for a Dec. 18 launch. Credit: Roscosmos

WASHINGTON — The new executive chairman of OneWeb is optimistic the company can raise the billions of dollars of additional funding needed to complete development of the company’s broadband constellation and work on a second generation of the system.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, which joined forces with the British government to acquire OneWeb out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, acknowledged at an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference Dec. 9 that space is a “capital intensive” industry but that his experience with terrestrial telecommunications markets made him confident that the company will be able to raise the required funding.

He estimated the cost of getting OneWeb’s initial constellation of about 650 satellites into orbit, and establishing the other infrastructure needed for the network, at between $5.5 billion and $7 billion. “Thankfully, OneWeb spent a lot of money in the first phase, and that’s where a lot of money goes booking the launches, building satellites,” he said.

He estimated OneWeb will need to raise $2.5 billion to complete the constellation. Half of that, he said, has been arranged between Bharti Enterprises and the U.K. government, who combined own about 85% of the post-bankruptcy company. “I don’t see raising capital for this wonderful project for the balance amount to be any issue,” he said, noting that Bharti Enterprises had raised more than $12 billion in the last 18–24 months for other projects.

OneWeb halted deployment of the constellation shortly after filing for Chapter 11 in March. It will resume deployment Dec. 18 with the launch of 36 satellites on a Soyuz rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia. Mittal said launches will then follow roughly once a month until the constellation is completed.

That schedule will allow OneWeb to provide service in northern latitudes, which he defined as above 50 degrees north, by October or November of 2021. Full global coverage will follow in May or June of 2022.

Getting OneWeb into service requires more than deploying the satellites. Mittal also emphasized setting up ground stations, calling on governments to create “liberal policies to allow for ground station networks to be put up in their respective countries.”

Another key issue is creation of user terminals for the system. The industry, he argued, needs to ensure that those terminals are available “at price points which are affordable.” He didn’t specify a target price for such terminals.

While OneWeb is offering broadband services for applications ranging from cellular backhaul to aviation and maritime connectivity, Mittal said the company was also interested in pursuing navigation services. “Then, of course, there will be PNT — positioning, navigation and timing — applications to provide accurate locations and provide navigational aids to all the mobility industries,” he said.

OneWeb’s interest in PNT services has gotten a skeptical reception from the industry. Among other issues, the company’s satellites use a different frequency than the range used by global navigation systems, like GPS.

Mittal acknowledged later in the talk that the initial OneWeb system will not offer navigation services. “Right now in Gen 1, which are all being launched in the coming months, we’ll have the timing already built into it, but the positioning and navigation will have to wait until Gen 2, which I would say is a couple of years away,” he said.

He claimed those future services will be more accurate and less susceptible to interference than GPS, but didn’t elaborate on those claims, or give other details about those proposed services and their cost. “We have the ambition of providing PNT services through OneWeb,” he said. “We believe we will be onto this path in the coming years.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-optimistic-about-raising-the-funding-needed-to-complete-its-constellation/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] OneWeb resumes satellite deployment with Soyuz launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Grudzień 18, 2020, 21:59
OneWeb resumes satellite deployment with Soyuz launch
by Jeff Foust — December 18, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/soyuz-oneweb-dec2020-879x485.jpg)
A Soyuz rocket carrying 36 OneWeb satellites lifts off Dec. 18 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, the first OneWeb launch since the company emerged from bankruptcy. Credit: Arianespace

WASHINGTON — OneWeb resumed deployment of its broadband satellite constellation with a Dec. 18 launch of 36 satellites, the first since the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

A Soyuz-2.1b rocket lifted off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia at 7:26 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s Fregat upper stage released the 36 satellites in nine sets of four satellites each, maneuvering between deployments, completing the process nearly four hours after liftoff.

The Fregat deployed the satellites in orbits at an altitude of 450 kilometers. The spacecraft, built by the Airbus-OneWeb joint venture OneWeb Satellites, will use their onboard propulsion to move into their final orbits at an altitude of 1,200 kilometers. They will join 76 satellites previously launched on three previous Soyuz flights.

The launch was the first for OneWeb since a March 21 launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome that placed 34 satellites into orbit. Six days later, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. federal court, citing an inability to raise funding because of the pandemic.

A group led by Indian telecom company Bharti Global and the British government submitting a winning bid of $1 billion for OneWeb’s assets in July, a deal that closed Nov. 20. The company, under new ownership, also hired Neil Masterson, a former co-chief operating officer at Reuters, as its new chief executive.

This launch is the first under a revised contract with Arianespace concluded in September. That contract covers 16 Soyuz launches at a pace of roughly once a month to deploy the 648-satellite constellation.

“We felt that the important thing to do was to get a launch back up as soon as possible so that potential partners could see that OneWeb was back,” said Chris McLaughlin, chief of government, regulation and engagement at OneWeb, in an interview just as the last sets of satellites were being deployed. “That will lead those who were considering OneWeb to put us back on their shopping list.”

The company is just starting to ramp up sales efforts, having disbanded its original sales team when it filed for Chapter 11. McLaughlin said that the company is working in several markets, including aviation, maritime and defense applications.

The OneWeb Satellites factory in Florida is back to full operation, he said, producing two satellites a day. That keeps OneWeb on track to have enough satellites in orbit to provide service at latitudes above 50 degrees north by the fall of 2021, and have the full constellation in operation as soon as the middle of 2022.

To achieve that goal, the company needs to raise additional funding. Sunil Bharti Mittal, executive chairman of OneWeb, said Dec. 9 that the company needed to raise $2.5 billion, nearly half of which had already raised. He said he was confident that OneWeb can raise the remaining funding.

“We have a number of financial institutions who already want to put money in,” McLaughlin said. He added that OneWeb has been approached by two “large GEO” satellite operators that he declined to identify who are also interested in investing in OneWeb. The Financial Times reported OneWeb could close a $400 million round as soon as January (https://www.ft.com/content/98e57ccc-8ecf-4a6a-afa9-1c8366043b56).

“It’s been a long, hard time,” McLaughlin said. “We’re back to having competition in LEO.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-resumes-satellite-deployment-with-soyuz-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 26, 2021, 02:47
OneWeb slashes size of future satellite constellation
by Jeff Foust — January 14, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/OneWeb-constellation-screenshot-879x485.jpg)
OneWeb says it's sharply reducing the size of a proposed next-generation satellite system from nearly 48,000 to less than 6,400 satellites. Credit: OneWeb artist's concept

WASHINGTON — OneWeb says it’s drastically reducing the size of a proposed next-generation satellite constellation originally envisioned to have nearly 48,000 satellites.

In a Jan. 12 filing with the Federal Communications Commission, OneWeb sought permission to amend an application filed in May requesting to launch 47,844 satellites for its “Phase Two” constellation. Instead, the company is proposing a system with 6,372 satellites.

The revised constellation, OneWeb said in a Jan. 13 statement, “demonstrates the commitment and vision” of its new owners, the British government and Indian telecom company Bharti Global, for “deploying a cost effective, responsible, and groundbreaking satellite network to deliver global broadband.”

The original Phase Two proposal filed with the FCC envisioned a system with 32 planes of 720 satellites each at an inclination of 40 degrees, 32 planes with 720 satellites each at an inclination of 55 degrees, and 36 planes with 49 satellites each at an inclination of 87.9 degrees, for a total of 47,844 satellites, all in orbits 1,200 kilometers high. Those would be in addition to its initial constellation of about 650 satellites the company is currently deploying, which is not affected by the proposed modification.

The revised system retains the same number and arrangement of orbital planes, but reduces the number of satellites in each of the 40-degree and 55-degree planes from 720 to 72. The satellites in the 87.9-degree orbital planes are unchanged, reducing the total size of the system to 6,372 satellites.

“OneWeb expects this revised deployment plan for its Phase 2 constellation will enable it to achieve superior end user throughput and spectral efficiency while reducing funding requirements and fostering OneWeb’s ‘Responsible Space’ vision,” the company said in its FCC filing. “This Amendment is an integral part of OneWeb’s commitment to support the long-term use of space for all by preserving the orbital environment.”

Despite reducing the size of the constellation by more than 85%, OneWeb asked the FCC to consider the amendment “minor” under its rules for assessing priority for various applications. The company said it is making no other changes, like frequency allocations, for the system, so “this proposed reduction in satellites will not increase the potential interference” for other systems.

It’s not clear how serious OneWeb was in its original proposal for launching nearly 48,000 satellites. The company filed the application when it was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and had suspended deployment of its first-generation system. That deployment resumed in December, after the company emerged from Chapter 11 under its new ownership.

The size of the system, larger than any other constellation proposed, alarmed some in the space sustainability field because of the heightened risk of orbital debris. Astronomers were also worried (https://spacenews.com/onewebs-revival-worries-astronomers/) that the satellites would pose an even greater risk to their observations than SpaceX’s Starlink system.

“It is clear that a huge constellation of 50,000 satellites at high altitude is the most threatening to visible astronomy,” said Olivier Hainaut, an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory, during a July conference session on the effect of satellite megaconstellations on astronomy.


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-slashes-size-of-future-satellite-constellation/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 26, 2021, 02:47
OneWeb raises $400 million
by Jeff Foust — January 15, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/soyuz-oneweb-dec2020-879x485.jpg)
The new funding will support OneWeb's continued deployment of its initial 648-satellite constellation, which resumed with a Soyuz launch Dec. 18. Credit: Arianespace

WASHINGTON — Broadband satellite company OneWeb announced Jan. 15 it has raised $400 million from SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems, allowing the company to continue deployment of its constellation.

The new round includes $350 million from SoftBank, who was the biggest shareholder in OneWeb before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2020. The remainder is from Hughes Network Systems, which announced last year it would invest $50 million into the restructured company (https://spacenews.com/fcc-approves-oneweb-sale-as-starlink-begins-public-beta/).

The companies did not disclose the new size of SoftBank’s stake in the company, but OneWeb announced that the Japanese company would get a seat on its board. According to an October notice by the Federal Communications Commission (https://spacenews.com/fcc-approves-oneweb-sale-as-starlink-begins-public-beta/), SoftBank owned 12.3% of the company at the time, after owning 37.41% before the Chapter 11 filing.

The same FCC notice said that Hughes’ planned investment was still being finalized, but that the investment would not have a “meaningful impact” on OneWeb’s ownership, with Hughes holding a 2.6% stake. The British government and Indian telecom company Bharti Global, which acquired OneWeb for $1 billion, each owned 42.2% of the company at that time.

The funding will help support the company as it continues deployment of an initial constellation of 648 satellites. “We have made rapid progress to restart the business since emerging from Chapter 11 in November,” said Neil Masterson, chief executive of OneWeb, in a statement. “We welcome the investments by SoftBank and Hughes as further proof of progress towards delivering our goal.”

OneWeb said the funding “positions the company to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet,” but the $400 million alone is insufficient to fund the company through full deployment of the constellation, expected to be completed in mid-2022. Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises and executive chairman of OneWeb, said last month he expected OneWeb would need $2.5 billion to complete the constellation (https://spacenews.com/oneweb-optimistic-about-raising-the-funding-needed-to-complete-its-constellation/), of which about half had been raised. That suggests the company still needs to raise about $1 billion.

Bharti Mittal, though, was optimistic about getting that additional funding. “I don’t see raising capital for this wonderful project for the balance amount to be any issue,” he said, noting that Bharti Enterprises had raised more than $12 billion in the last 18–24 months for other projects.

OneWeb said last month that they expected to perform launches on a roughly monthly schedule to complete the constellation, with enough satellites in orbit by the fall of 2021 to enable service to begin at latitudes above 50 degrees north. Global service would begin in 2022, once the full constellation is in orbit.

OneWeb resumed launches of that constellation (https://spacenews.com/oneweb-resumes-satellite-deployment-with-soyuz-launch/), halted by the Chapter 11 filing, Dec. 18, with the deployment of 36 satellites on a Soyuz rocket. The company has not announced a date for its next launch.

In addition to that initial constellation, the company is working on a larger “Phase Two” constellation. In a Jan. 12 filing with the FCC, OneWeb sought to modify its original application by reducing the number of satellites in that Phase Two system from 47,844 to 6,372 (https://spacenews.com/oneweb-slashes-size-of-future-satellite-constellation/).


Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-raises-400-million/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 26, 2021, 02:48
Arianespace launches 36 more OneWeb satellites
by Jason Rainbow — March 25, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Soyuz_ST30-liftoff_HR-1-1-879x485.jpeg)
Arianespace’s fifth Soyuz flight for OneWeb delivered another 36 satellites for its growing constellation. Credit: Arianespace

TAMPA, Fla. — Arianespace successfully launched another 36 satellites for low Earth orbit broadband operator OneWeb March 25, bringing its total in-orbit constellation to 146 satellites.

OneWeb has made contact with each satellite after they separated from a Soyuz-2.1b rocket that blasted off 10:47 p.m. Eastern from Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia’s newest launch base.

It took nearly four hours to dispense the satellites in nine batches from the rocket’s Fregat upper stage.

The mission marks the second launch for OneWeb under its new owners, the British government and Indian telecom company Bharti Global, which bought the venture out of bankruptcy Nov. 20.

It is also the second of five launches OneWeb plans by June to cover north of 50 degrees latitude. That coverage area would span the entire United Kingdom — as well as Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada.

Chris McLaughlin, OneWeb’s chief of government, regulation and engagement, said the goal is the first bench mark it set with its new shareholders.

“With a prime shareholder in [the British government] this pathway through to approximately June is of particular emotive importance,” McLaughlin told SpaceNews in an interview.

Although commercial service won’t start until late 2021, he said reaching the June launch milestone is important for underlining the rationale behind the acquisition and its value to the British public.

Space is one of the sectors the U.K. has singled out to expand its domestic industrial capabilities following Brexit. McLaughlin said OneWeb will also boost the country’s standing among Five Eyes nations, a multilateral intelligence alliance that includes the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

In a published statement after OneWeb’s March 25 launch, U.K. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This latest launch is yet another boost for OneWeb and their ambitious plans to connect people and businesses across the globe to fast and reliable broadband.

“Our support for OneWeb puts the UK at the forefront of the latest advances in space technology and demonstrates our commitment to grow Britain’s competitive advantage in this field.”

Scaling up

OneWeb is planning a 648-strong constellation, aiming to offer global high-speed, low-latency connectivity services in 2022.

The plan to launch three more batches of satellites before the end of June could be disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which McLaughlin said continues to play havoc with supply chains.

“We believe we’re in good shape, but everyone across the industry is trying to balance the challenges of working as we do at the moment, and the ways in which equipment has to arrive on time and be built in, etc.,” he added.

“But we do have the advantage of … our own dedicated factory in Florida.”

OneWeb Satellites, OneWeb’s joint venture with European aerospace giant Airbus, is building the satellites in the U.S. facility.

Building spacecraft in-house has limited pandemic disruption for U.S.-based rival LEO broadband network Starlink, which has been busy launching through owner SpaceX to amass a constellation of more than 1,300 satellites.

Starlink is reportedly in talks with the U.K. government about providing connectivity in areas that are hard to reach with terrestrial solutions.

The talks come amid a £5 billion ($6.85 billion) “Project Gigabit” government infrastructure program to improve broadband coverage in the country, reported Sky News (https://news.sky.com/story/elon-musks-starlink-in-talks-with-uk-to-solve-broadband-problems-12250541).

However, McLaughlin said this funding has already gone to U.K. telecom companies, adding that OneWeb has also had numerous conversations with government officials.

“OneWeb’s differentiator is that we are not seeking to sell individual dishes to individual people around the globe to disintermediate telecom companies,” he said.

“We are seeking to partner with those telecom companies to serve their customers and serve their networks, and provide capacity that enables them to best decide how to deploy.”

OneWeb raised $400 million by selling equity Jan. 15, bringing the LEO broadband provider’s total funding to $1.4 billion.

SoftBank, which was OneWeb’s largest shareholder before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2020, provided $350 million. The remaining $50 million came from Hughes Network Systems, which is also a returning shareholder.

McLaughlin said OneWeb is “extremely confident” of securing about $800 million in extra funding over this year to reach its funding goal of around $2 billion.

Gaining momentum

South Korean terminal maker Intellian is on track to deliver OneWeb’s first dual parabolic dishes in May, McLaughlin said, while a single parabolic antenna solution remains under development. These are large products, designed for applications including connecting whole villages and government sites.

More compact antennas are on the way, and McLaughlin hinted OneWeb would soon make announcements about them. The operator announced March 19 (https://www.oneweb.world/media-center/oneweb-and-satixfy-sign-agreement-for-in-flight-connectivity-ifc-compact-terminal) an agreement with Israel antenna maker SatixFy to develop a terminal that would fit on aircraft.

Intellian initially partnered with OneWeb in 2019 to build terminals, but OneWeb’s collapse into bankruptcy just as COVID-19 tightened its grip on industry disrupted the work.

“We shall not put too fine a point on it, we were delayed nine to 10 months,” McLaughlin said.

He added: “The terminal momentum is building back, the customer momentum is building back, but obviously you expect a degree of hesitancy after what happened last year.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/arianespace-launches-36-more-oneweb-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] SpaceX and OneWeb spar over satellite close approach
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Kwiecień 27, 2021, 07:33
SpaceX and OneWeb spar over satellite close approach
by Jeff Foust — April 22, 2021

ORLANDO — An alleged close approach between satellites from OneWeb and SpaceX led to a meeting between the companies and the Federal Communications Commission, but the companies don’t completely agree on what resulted from that discussion.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-and-oneweb-spar-over-satellite-close-approach/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] OneWeb’s Big Announcement Should Quiet Doubters
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Kwiecień 27, 2021, 07:34
OneWeb adds 36 satellites to broadband constellation as deployment accelerates
by Jason Rainbow — April 25, 2021

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/OneWeb-launch-879x485.jpg)
A still taken from OneWeb's live feed March 25, showing a successful lift-off of a Soyuz rocket carrying another batch of broadband satellites. Credit: OneWeb

TAMPA, Fla. — OneWeb’s growing low Earth orbit broadband constellation is set to reach 182 satellites, after Arianespace launched its latest batch of 36 spacecraft April 25.

Arianespace launched the satellites with a Soyuz-2.1b rocket that blasted off 6:14 p.m. Eastern from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia, putting them into a near-polar orbit at an altitude of 450 kilometers.

The satellites will raise themselves to operational orbit at an altitude of 1,200 kilometers, following nine separation sequences over a period of about four hours from lift-off.

One of the satellites from OneWeb’s previous batch of 36, which Arianespace launched March 25, allegedly could have come too close to a Starlink broadband spacecraft operated by SpaceX while making a similar journey.

OneWeb-0178’s course was adjusted after projected to come close to the Starlink-1546 satellite launched in September 2020, although the exact circumstances around the issue are unclear.

Arianespace’s latest launch for OneWeb pushes the broadband startup closer to an interim goal to expand coverage to north of 50 degrees latitude by June.

That coverage goal, which requires launching two more batches of 36 satellites, would enable OneWeb to provide services across the entire United Kingdom before the end of this year — an important milestone for a company recently sold to the British government and Indian telecom company Bharti Global.

It would also enable OneWeb to cover Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada.

OneWeb ultimately plans a 650-strong constellation to deliver global high-speed, low-latency broadband services to enterprise, government, maritime and aviation customers from 2022.

Megaconstellation competition

SpaceX is estimated to have more than 1,300 Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit, as it launches them in batches of 60 for consumer broadband services currently in beta tests.

The U.S.-based company is asking for regulatory approval to expand its constellation as it reaches its limit at lower altitudes.

Under U.S. Federal Communications Commission rules, SpaceX can operate up to 1,548 satellites in orbits at altitudes around 550 kilometers.

It has regulatory approval for an additional 2,825 satellites at 1,100-1,300 kilometers, but requests permission to bring those down to 550 kilometers to improve latency.

Meanwhile, Amazon April 19 ordered nine Atlas 5 rockets (https://spacenews.com/amazon-contracts-nine-atlas-5-missions-for-kuiper-broadband-satellites/) from United Launch Alliance for its rival Project Kuiper broadband constellation in LEO.

The U.S. company did not disclose a time frame for these missions, although it must deploy half its 3,236-strong constellation by 2026 under its FCC license.

Canadian satellite fleet operator Telesat, which expects to start deploying its Lightspeed LEO constellation next year, has not yet finalized launch contracts (https://spacenews.com/telesat-raising-500-million-in-debt-for-lightspeed-broadband-network/).

Helping differentiate OneWeb’s constellation are plans to add some kind of navigational capability to its satellites, giving the British government a domestic capability following Brexit.

Neil Masterson, OneWeb’s CEO, said April 7 the company aims to have a demo capability (https://spacenews.com/oneweb-continues-to-study-offering-navigation-services/) available this year.

OneWeb launched an innovation challenge April 23 that is open to businesses as well as academic and research-based entities to help find technologies, products and solutions that advance space-based connectivity.

Proposals are due before May 17 and awards will be announced June 21.

Catherine Mealing-Jones, director of growth for the U.K. Space Agency, said: “As space offers increasingly diverse possibilities for scientific and commercial progress, this campaign is a great way to generate new ideas and invite more individuals and businesses to be a part of our growing industry.”


 *Update April 26*

OneWeb has confirmed signal acquisition on all 36 satellites, following successful separation sequences.

Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-adds-36-satellites-to-broadband-constellation-as-deployment-accelerates/
Tytuł: Odp: [SpaceNews] Eutelsat buys a quarter of OneWeb to get a LEO
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Kwiecień 28, 2021, 14:22
Eutelsat buys a quarter of OneWeb to get a LEO broadband growth engine
by Jason Rainbow — April 27, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — French satellite operator Eutelsat is paying $550 million to buy part of OneWeb, the startup deploying a broadband network in low Earth orbit.

The company is buying a 24% stake to give it similar governance rights to the British government and Indian telecom company Bharti Global, which bought OneWeb out of bankruptcy last year.

Part of the investment will be funded by the $507 million that Eutelsat is getting from clearing C-band spectrum in the U.S. for terrestrial 5G networks.

Source: https://spacenews.com/eutelsat-buys-a-quarter-of-oneweb-to-get-a-leo-broadband-growth-engine/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 29, 2021, 02:02
OneWeb constellation to cross 200th mark after successful launch
by Jason Rainbow — May 28, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/DSC_0844-879x485.jpg)
A Soyuz rocket carries 36 satellites in OneWeb's seventh launch mission. Credit: Roscosmos, Space Center Vostochny, TsENKI

TAMPA, Fla. — OneWeb’s broadband constellation is set to pass the 200th mark after Arianespace successfully launched its latest batch of satellites May 28.

Arianespace launched 36 satellites on a Soyuz-2.1b rocket 1:38 p.m. Eastern from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, in Russia, which will enlarge OneWeb’s fleet to 218 satellites.

The mission was initially scheduled for May 27, but Arianespace delayed it to replace “one item of electrical equipment on the Soyuz launcher” at the launch site, adding that the rocket and satellites were in a stable and safe condition.

Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-constellation-to-cross-200th-mark-after-successful-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 02, 2021, 08:35
OneWeb hits coverage goal with latest launch, sets sights on southern regions
by Jason Rainbow — July 1, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/OneWeb-5-to-50-Launch-Image-2-879x485.jpg)
Arianespace's eighth launch for OneWeb expands its constellation to 254 satellites. Credit: Roscosmos, Space Center Vostochny, TsENKI

expands TAMPA, Fla. — OneWeb is shifting focus to the southern hemisphere after completing coverage north of 50 degrees latitude, following the launch of its latest batch of broadband satellites July 1.

Arianespace launched 36 satellites at 8:48 a.m. Eastern in its eighth mission for the low-Earth-orbit startup, increasing the size of its constellation to 254 spacecraft.

Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-hits-coverage-goal-with-latest-launch-sets-sights-on-southern-regions/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Sierpień 24, 2021, 00:48
OneWeb constellation nears 300 satellites after Arianespace launch
by Jason Rainbow — August 22, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Launch-9-v3-879x485.jpeg)
A Soyuz rocket launched an additional 34 satellites for OneWeb Aug. 21 from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos, TsENKI

TAMPA, Fla. — Arianespace launched its ninth mission for broadband startup OneWeb Aug. 21, expanding its low Earth orbit constellation to 288 satellites.

A total of 34 satellites for OneWeb launched on a Soyuz rocket at 6:13 p.m. Eastern from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-constellation-nears-300-satellites-after-arianespace-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 08, 2021, 02:30
Kymeta announces successful OneWeb antenna tests
by Jason Rainbow — September 7, 2021 [SN]

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Kymeta tested its u8 terminal with OneWeb's LEO constellation in France. Credit: Kymeta / OneWeb

TAMPA, Fla. — Kymeta said Sept. 7 that it successfully tested its u8 broadband terminal on OneWeb’s low-Earth-orbit constellation, achieving 200 megabits per second (Mbps) downlink speeds ahead of the network’s partial launch this year.

Source: https://spacenews.com/kymeta-announces-successful-oneweb-antenna-tests/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 17, 2021, 08:37
OneWeb’s broadband constellation reaching halfway mark
by Jason Rainbow — September 14, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/1903568801-879x485.jpeg)
Arianespace lofted 34 satellites for OneWeb Sept. 14 in the launch services provider's ninth mission so far this year. Credit: Roscosmos, TsENKI

TAMPA, Fla. — OneWeb is about halfway through deploying its low Earth orbit constellation, after Arianespace successfully launched another 34 satellites for the broadband operator Sept. 14.

The satellites launched on a Soyuz rocket at 2:07 p.m. Eastern from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, expanding OneWeb’s network to 322 satellites of a planned 648-strong constellation.

Source: https://spacenews.com/onewebs-broadband-constellation-reaching-halfway-mark/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 17, 2021, 08:39
OneWeb signs distribution deal with Peraton, broadens reach into military market
by Sandra Erwin — September 16, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/E8nRV9wXMAk-ZC2-879x485.jpeg)
An Arianespace Soyuz rocket carrying 34 OneWeb satellites awaits launch at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Aug. 22, 2021. Credit: OneWeb

OneWeb said it will start service this year at the 50th parallel and above, and reach global coverage in 2022
WASHINGTON — Under a new agreement with U.S. defense contractor Peraton, OneWeb’s satellite communications services will be more widely available to military users in hard-to-reach areas, including ships at sea.

Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-signs-distribution-deal-with-peraton-broadens-reach-into-military-market/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 22, 2021, 23:26
Drones are accelerating OneWeb’s antenna tests
by Jason Rainbow — September 21, 2021 [SN]

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OneWeb started using QuadSat's drones for testing gateways for the first time in June. Credit: QuadSat

TAMPA, Fla. — OneWeb is using drones from Danish startup QuadSat to accelerate ground segment tests as it aims to bring part of its low Earth orbit broadband constellation online this year.

QuadSat’s quadcopters helped calibrate OneWeb’s gateway in Scanzano, Italy, and will now test its antennas elsewhere as the operator races to launch initial commercial services in the upper part of the Northern Hemisphere, ahead of full services in 2022.

Source: https://spacenews.com/drones-are-accelerating-onewebs-antenna-tests/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Październik 14, 2021, 23:36
Arianespace launches OneWeb past the halfway mark
by Jason Rainbow — October 14, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/OneWeb-launch-879x485.jpeg)
Arianespace’s eleventh launch for OneWeb expands its broadband constellation to 358 satellites. Credit: Vostochny Space Centre

TAMPA, Fla. — OneWeb has contacted all 36 satellites launched from Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome Oct. 14, enlarging the broadband constellation beyond its halfway mark toward full deployment next year.

A Soyuz-2.1b rocket successfully launched the latest batch of OneWeb satellites at 5:40 a.m. Eastern in Arianespace’s eleventh mission for the operator.

Source: https://spacenews.com/arianespace-launches-oneweb-past-the-halfway-mark/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Listopad 25, 2021, 16:46
OneWeb mulls debris-removal service for failed satellite
by Jason Rainbow — November 24, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/OneWeb-satellite-Credit_-OneWeb-879x485.jpg)
OneWeb's satellites are built in Florida under a joint venture with Airbus, called OneWeb Satellites. Credit: OneWeb

TAMPA, Fla. — OneWeb is considering options to remove one of its broadband satellites from low Earth orbit after it failed following a software issue last year.

“We are looking at all potential suppliers to address de-orbit as and when the tech is safe,” said Chris Mclaughlin, OneWeb’s chief of government, regulation and engagement.

The failure was disclosed in a OneWeb financial report filed Nov. 17. That report noted OneWeb has deployed 358 satellites at 1,200 kilometers through 11 launches, “with loss of only one satellite to date.”

Source: https://spacenews.com/oneweb-mulls-debris-removal-service-for-failed-satellite/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Grudzień 16, 2021, 09:58
No decision yet on where to build OneWeb second-generation satellites
by Jeff Foust — December 15, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/OWS-FAL-FL-20190722-Outside-cOneWeb-Satellites-879x485.jpg)
The Florida factory where OneWeb's current generation of satellites are being built. A OneWeb executive said Dec. 14 said the company has yet to decide where to build a second generation. Credit: OneWeb Satellites

PARIS — A week after a OneWeb executive told British officials that the company would move production of its second generation of satellites to the United Kingdom, another executive said the company has yet to decide where it will build those satellites.

At a Dec. 8 hearing by the U.K. Parliament’s science and technology committee, Chris McLaughlin, chief of government, regulatory affairs and engagement at OneWeb, said the company intended to build a second generation of satellites in the U.K. starting in the middle of the decade.

Source: https://spacenews.com/no-decision-yet-on-where-to-build-oneweb-second-generation-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: Artykuły o OneWeb
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Grudzień 27, 2021, 21:19
Arianespace wraps up 2021 with OneWeb launch
by Jason Rainbow — December 27, 2021 [SN]

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Arianespace’s 12th mission overall for OneWeb saw a Soyuz deliver 36 satellites from the Baikonour Cosmodrome, instead of the usual 34 from Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos, Baikonur Space Centre, TsENKI

TAMPA, Fla. — Arianespace completed its last mission of the year Dec. 27 with the launch of 36 satellites for low Earth orbit broadband operator OneWeb.

OneWeb’s latest batch of satellites launched on a Soyuz 2.1b rocket at 8.10 a.m. Eastern from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Source: https://spacenews.com/arianespace-wraps-up-2021-with-oneweb-launch/