Thursday, April 21, 2016

OneWeb To Build Satellites At Kennedy Space Center

OneWeb satellite constellation

MERRITT ISLAND, Florida - Governor Rick Scott announced that OneWeb, a global communications network company, will expand in Brevard County and create 250 high-tech manufacturing and engineering jobs. The company has already begun advertising job postings for Florida's Space Coast.

OneWeb plans to locate a 100,000 square foot satellite manufacturing facility on Florida’s Space Coast at Exploration Park, just south of Kennedy Space Center. The project will also invest nearly $85 million into the community. OneWeb is working to create a global, satellite based communications network capable of delivering internet connectivity anywhere in the world.

“It’s great news that OneWeb has chosen to build one of the world’s most advanced aerospace manufacturing facilities right here in Florida," Governor Scott said. "We have worked hard to permanently eliminate the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment so companies like OneWeb can succeed right here in Florida. I look forward to seeing OneWeb Satellite’s continued success in Florida.”

OneWeb, which was founded by technology entrepreneur and former Google executive Greg Wyler, will design, build and launch an extensive network of small, low earth orbit satellites that will enable the delivery of internet services to every corner of the Earth at a low cost. These small satellites will be manufactured at the Space Coast facility and will be mass produced utilizing fewer components thus making them lighter and easier to launch.

Once the satellites are in orbit, OneWeb's ground terminals will act as small cells with the ability to provide access to the surrounding local area via a WiFi, LTE, 3G or 2G connection using an operator partner’s licensed spectrum, or only LTE or WiFi on unlicensed spectrum.

“This new facility is another step in the dream of enabling affordable internet access for the entire globe," said Wyler. "These satellites are truly state of the art as we have really pushed, but not exceeded, the limits of technology. With this new facility we will be able to iterate, update and continuously improve the satellite’s design and performance, and being right at the Space Center using Virgin Galactic we will be able to launch new satellites within hours of completion.”

OneWeb has teamed with a number of partners and suppliers to achieve their vision for connectivity. Airbus Defence and Space will begin by building test satellites at its facility in Toulouse, France; Arianespace and Virgin Galactic will provide launch services support; Hughes Network Systems will build ground monitoring and management hardware; and Intelsat will manage the satellite fleet for the company.

“Florida is an excellent location for our high volume satellite manufacturing facility," said Brian Holz, CEO of OneWeb Satellites. "The State of Florida and Space Florida really understood our business needs and gave us an outstanding offer to locate in Exploration Park. Our high volume satellite production uses many of the same technologies as aircraft production and Florida has become a center of excellence for both aviation and space related technologies. We will leverage much of the local aerospace capability expanding opportunity in the Space Coast region, and we also anticipate many of our suppliers to co-locate operations near our facility. The facility will be a big part of our ability to dramatically lower satellite costs for OneWeb and other customers as we grow our business.”

“The announcement of OneWeb’s presence here at Exploration Park is one that perfectly aligns with Space Florida’s vision of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport and Florida as the world’s leading space commerce center." Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Florida said. "Our ever-expanding commercial space industry at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport will now be home to the most advanced satellite manufacturing capability in the world, and Space Florida looks forward to OneWeb Satellite’s success.

Photo: An artist's rendition of OneWeb's satellite constellation. Credit: OneWeb