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The competition heats up: OneWeb officially announces its plan to build its satellite factory in Florida.
OneWeb Satellites LLC prepares to break ground on its new estimated $85 million high volume satellite manufacturing factory in Exploration Park, Florida. Announced during a ceremony with Florida Governor Rick Scott and OneWeb founder Greg Wyler, the factory near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is set to open in 2017, with delivery of initial satellites later that year or early the next. OneWeb Satellites is a joint venture between OneWeb, a satellite based internet provider, and Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company.
I think this news report of the press conference notes the most important aspect of this satellite factory, its assembly-line approach:
Typically, communications satellites take four to five months to assemble, Brian Holz, chief executive of OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture of OneWeb and Europe’s Airbus Group’s Defense and Space said during an event near the future location of the factory. “We’re going to build one in an eight-hour shift,” he said. He did not give details but said the factory would be highly automated.
If all goes right, they should begin launch satellites in large numbers within two years, which will mean a lot of additional launch business for the smallsat rocket industry.