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OneWeb panel supplier gears up

Jersey-based OneWeb, which is planning a 900-spacecraft constellation of broadband satellites, is ordering solar panels from an Albuquerque, New Mexico factory.

SolAero, in a statement, says that it is expanding its existing facility to meet the new demand.

SolAero already supplies solar panels to satellites and will start qualifying OneWeb’s order in March in readiness to supply panels by September. OneWeb’s unit have to be fully space qualified in order to handle severe space radiation and thermal stress conditions.

Its client list is impressive and the company says it has some 180 satellites flying with its technology, including satellites from Space Systems/Loral, Boeing and the European Space Agency.

OneWeb Satellites, a joint-venture between OneWeb and Europe’s Airbus aerospace comp any, is also creating a new facility at Exploration Park, Florida, where it intends building the Low Earth orbiting broadband satellites. The plan is to ramp up production to an eventual rate of 2-3 satellites per day.

Last week OneWeb confirmed that Japan’s SoftBank Group (a major investor in OneWeb) would be responsible for marketing wholesale access to the OneWeb fleet.

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