OneWeb, now out of bankruptcy (the formal documents are to be signed on November 30th and the final Court hearing is scheduled for December 3rd), has officially restarted its dual satellite production lines at its joint-venture factory in Florida.
OneWeb now has backing from a consortium including the UK government and Bharti Global.
“Due to investment decisions made by the new shareholders, the joint venture facility with Airbus in Florida, USA was re-activated and the dual production lines brought back into service,” said OneWeb.
Currently the plan is to build (in bulk) and launch satellites in order to get core services up and operating as soon as possible. Some 74 satellites are already in orbit and another 36 due for launch on December 17th as part of the initial constellation of 648 satellites.
However, there is undoubtedly pressure on a ‘second generation’ series of satellites to incorporate some measure of global positioning and beam-hopping between satellites.
OneWeb supplier SatixFy UK (a subsidiary of Israel’s SatixFy) is known to have been working with OneWeb on improved on-board processing and speedy beam hopping in order not to waste capacity while a satellite is orbiting over oceans. When this was initially discussed – and prior to the March bankruptcy – it was suggested that the second-generation could emerge around May 2021.