Channel Islands-based OneWeb, which is looking to launch 900 satellites to girdle the Earth, is linking with aerospace giant Airbus Defence & Space to build the constellation.
A new 50/50 joint-venture, OneWeb Satellites, owned equally by OneWeb and Airbus, is to build the new global communications satellites. The j-v will also then seek other business in terms of smaller satellites and equipment which Airbus will market.
The new company will be headed up by Brian Holz as CEO. Holz is currently VP and Director of OneWeb’s space systems.
“The next stage of the OneWeb adventure is here! On both sides of the Atlantic, our teams are now working under a common flag to meet the incredible challenge: to mass-produce 900 satellites for the OneWeb constellation,” said Eric Beranger, Head of Programmes Space Systems, at Airbus.
“For several months now, we have been working on the design of this unprecedented constellation and how we are going to manufacture them – both ground-breaking in their own way. The next step will be to set up a prototype line in Toulouse for production of the first 10 satellites. This will also be used to test the industrialisation method for the series production of the other satellites,” he added.
“Airbus is a key partner to our success as we move forward and are very happy to have them being a part of OneWeb and our new joint venture. We are benefiting from Airbus Defence and Space’s manufacturing and assembly knowledge as we look to initiate services,” said Matt O’Connell, CEO of OneWeb.