OneWeb Bolsters Commitment to Responsible Space with Advanced Grappling Technology From Altius Space Machines

OneWeb satellite with grappling fixture. (Credit: OneWeb)

LONDON, December 10, 2019 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, whose goal is to connect everyone everywhere, and OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between Airbus and OneWeb, are coming together to advance the OneWeb Responsible Space program with a commitment to implement an advanced-technology grappling fixture, developed by Altius Space Machines, on OneWeb’s satellites.

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LeoSat Folds After Failing to Find Required Funding

SpaceNews reports that LeoSat, a company that planned to deliver high-speed Internet using as many as 108 satellites, has folded due to lack of investment.

Mark Rigolle, CEO of LeoSat, told SpaceNews Nov. 13 that the company laid off all 13 employees — himself included — in August after its earlier investors decided not to fund the company any longer. 

LeoSat was anticipating that Spanish satellite operator Hispasat and Sky Perfect Jsat of Japan would complete LeoSat’s $50 million Series A after each made initial investments — Jsat in 2017, Hispasat in 2018 — but neither did. 

Rigolle said management changes at both companies this year prompted a reversal of their previous intent to invest further in the low-Earth-orbit broadband venture within months of each other, if not less. 

“I couldn’t have dreamt up a worse scenario,” Rigolle said. “This is like SoftBank suddenly saying to OneWeb ‘you’re not getting any more money,’ or Jeff Bezos saying in two years time, ‘no, bad idea, I’m not funding [Kuiper] anymore. It’s a 180-degree turn.”

SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 first stage performs an entry burn as the second stage continues to orbit. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX successfully launched 60 Starlink satellites on Monday, doubling the number of spacecraft in the broadband Internet constellation.

A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on time at 9:56 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The satellites were deployed an hour after liftoff.

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SpaceX Starlink Launch Details

60 Starlink satellites begin to separate after deployment from the Falcon 9 second stage. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Monday, November 11 at 9:56 a.m. EST, 14:56 UTC, for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. A backup launch opportunity is available at 9:34 a.m. EST, 14:34 UTC, on Tuesday, November 12.

The launch webcast will go live about 15 minutes before liftoff at spacex.com/webcast. High-resolution photos will be posted at flickr.com/spacex.

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SpaceX Files Applications for 30,000 More Starlink Satellites

60 Starlink satellites inside the Falcon 9 payload fairing. (Credit: Elon Musk)

SpaceNews reports that SpaceX has filed spectrum allocation paperwork with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for up to 30,000 additional Starlink broadband satellites.

The FCC, on SpaceX’s behalf, submitted 20 filings to the ITU for 1,500 satellites apiece in various low Earth orbits, an ITU official confirmed Oct. 15 to SpaceNews. 

SpaceX deployed its first 60 Starlink satellites in May and plans to launch hundreds — potentially over a thousand — more in the year ahead. 

The ITU, a United Nations entity, coordinates spectrum at the international level for satellite operators to prevent signal interference and spectrum hogging. National regulators submit filing on behalf of their country’s satellite operators.

The 30,000 satellites are in addition to 12,000 medium-orbit Starlink satellites already approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Elon Musk’s company is planning up to four additional Falcon 9 launches of Starlink satellites by the end of the year. Dates for those flights have not been publicly announced. Additional launches would follow in 2020.

China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.

China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

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Upcoming Launches Include Mission Extension Vehicle, ICON and Starlink Satellites

Mission Extension Vehicle refuels satellite. (Credit: Orbital ATK)

Four upcoming launches in the United States, Russia and New Zealand feature payloads to refuel a communications satellite, study space weather, expand SpaceX’s Starlink network, and test out new technology.

October 9

Proton
Payloads: Eutelsat 5 West B communications satellite, Mission Extension Vehicle 1 (MEV 1)
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Launch Time: 6:17 a.m. EDT (1017 GMT )

This is the first flight of the MEV, which will refuel the Intelsat 901 communications satellite. Both satellites on this launch were built by Northrop Grumman.

October 9/10

Pegasus XL
Payload: Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite
Launch Platform: Stargazer L-1011 aircraft
Departure Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Window: 9:25-10:55 p.m. EDT on Oct. 9 (0125-0255 GMT on Oct. 10)

NASA’s ICON mission will study disturbances in the ionosphere caused by terrestrial weather and solar storms that disrupt radio transmissions and GPS navigation. ICON has suffered repeated delays due to technical problems. The original launch date was in June 2017. The launch is being conducted by Northrop Grumman.

October 14/15

Electron
Payloads: Palisade CubeSat
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand
Launch Window: 7:00-11:00 p.m. EDT on Oct. 14 (2300-0300 GMT on Oct. 14/15)

Rocket Lab’s “As The Crow Flies” mission is the ninth launch of the Electron rocket Astro Digital’s Palisade technology demonstration satellite is a 16U CubeSat with a next-generation communications system and an an on-board propulsion system.

NET October 17

Falcon 9
Payloads: ~ 60 Starlink 1 communications satellites
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Time: TBD

SpaceX will launch the second group of Starlink 1 broadband satellites no earlier than Oct. 17.

Iridium, OneWeb Sign MOU on Global Satellite Services Offering

McLean, VA, U.S.A. & London, U.K., September 17, 2019 (Iridium/OneWeb PR) — Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) and OneWeb today announced they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together toward a combined service offering.

This combined service offering would be designed to make it easier for their mutual partners to offer unique bundling and co-marketing opportunities for the Iridium Certus® L-band services and OneWeb’s Ku-band service. The offering would leverage the strengths of their respective low-Earth-orbit (LEO) networks. This is the first time that LEO operators have collaborated to deliver services in L-band and Ku-band.

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OneWeb to Bring Fiber-like Internet to the Arctic in 2020

F6 satellite (Credit: OneWeb)
  • OneWeb’s connectivity will be the fastest internet service in the Arctic, and the first to provide full coverage to the region
  • OneWeb’s fiber-like internet will be the only solution whereby the Arctic’s under-served, and unconnected communities can benefit from broadband connectivity
  • With service starting in 2020, OneWeb’s connectivity will help advance maritime, aviation, enterprise, government and scientific research needs

LONDON, September 4, 2019 (OneWeb PR – OneWeb, whose goal is to connect everyone everywhere, today announced the details of its Arctic high-speed, low-latency internet service. OneWeb will deliver 375 Gbps of capacity above the 60th parallel North. With service starting in 2020, there will be enough capacity to give fiber-like connectivity to hundreds of thousands of homes, planes, and boats, connecting millions across the Arctic.

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Softbank Writes Down $424.7 Million Investment in OneWeb

Ouch!

Citing a story in the Sunday Telegraph, City A.M. reports that Softbank took a £380 million ($424.7 million) impairment loss on its investment in OneWeb. Softbank is the largest shareholder in the Internet satellite company.

Airbus, Qualcomm and Virgin Group are among other shareholders in the London-based satellite firm, which boasts a valuation of more than $1bn (£823m) and has earned sought-after “unicorn” status.

In addition to the Softbank writedown, some early investors have lost as much as half of the value of their stakes, according to the report

Oneweb, which secured $1.25bn in its latest Softbank-led funding round, has ramped up its plans for satellite production amid competition from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon.

Russia Denies OneWeb Permission to Provide Satellite Internet

F6 satellite (Credit: OneWeb)

Despite launching its broadband satellites on Russian Soyuz rockets, OneWeb has been unable to obtain permission to provide its services in that country, the BBC reports.

OneWeb, whose headquarters are in the UK, was seeking to use a certain band of radio frequencies in Russia.

However, the State Commission for Radio Frequencies has denied it permission to do so.

OneWeb has been trying to get approval for its Russian operations since 2017….

In 2017, Russia’s communications authority Roskomnadzor blocked OneWeb from offering services in the country.

Canadian Government to Invest in Telesat Satellite Broadband Program

Credit: Telesat

OTTAWA (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada PR) — Canada’s future depends on connectivity. In today’s digital world, access to high-speed Internet is a necessity for success. That is why the Government of Canada is investing in innovative satellite technologies to help improve high-speed broadband access for all Canadians, particularly in rural and remote regions.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced an $85 million investment in Canadian satellite company Telesat to build and test innovative technologies for its low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. Telesat’s constellation will significantly improve global connectivity and expand high-speed Internet coverage to rural and remote regions throughout Canada, including the Far North. 

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UK-US OneWeb Venture to Increase Global Connectivity

An engineer works inside of OneWeb’s satellite production facility. (Credit: OneWeb)
  • Joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus sees satellite manufacturing facility open in Florida helping to revitalise Florida’s Space Coast with 250 new high-tech jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs through the supply chain
  • Department for International Trade celebrates 1 year of the Space Exports Strategy
  • In 2015, American companies represented nearly half of all FDI in the UK space sector—roughly £5.1bn of £12bn

EXPLORATION PARK, Fla. (UK Department of International Trade PR) — Today (July 22) UK-based OneWeb, the communications company powered by satellites, announced the opening of OneWeb Satellites, the first-ever, high-volume satellite manufacturing facility on Merritt Island, Florida, as part of a joint venture with Airbus. It comes just after the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

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OneWeb, Airbus Open High-production Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Florida

Inside OneWeb’s satellite manufacturing facility in Florida. (Credit: OneWeb)

EXPLORATION PARK, Florida, USA, July 22, 2019 – OneWeb Satellites – a joint venture of OneWeb and Airbus – today officially opened the world’s first high-volume, high-speed advanced satellite production facility to bring transformative internet connectivity to everyone, everywhere.

Historically, satellites are custom built, costing tens of millions of dollars to build, and taking more than a year to produce a single one. The OneWeb Satellites facility is the first to employ industrial-scale mass production techniques for satellites, enabling dramatically reduced costs and production times that can deliver one satellite per production shift or two a day, while significantly expanding internet connectivity and making space technology far more accessible.

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OneWeb’s Satellites Deliver Real-Time HD Streaming from Space

  • OneWeb proves satellite constellation can deliver high-speed, low-latency services from Space.
  • Comprehensive tests delivered live Full HD (1080p) streaming video at latency of less than 40 milliseconds and with speeds of over 400 Mbps.
  • All satellites in orbit, launched in February 2019 are performing well.
  • Test conducted in partnership with Intellian, developer of OneWeb user terminals.

LONDON, July 16, 2019 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, whose mission is to enable internet access everywhere for everyone, is delighted to announce the successful test of its six satellites in Low Earth Orbit. All satellites delivered high-speed, low-latency services, with speed of more than 400 Mbps which enabled the fastest real-time video streaming in Full HD from Space. The tests, which took place in Seoul, South Korea, represent the most significant demonstration of the OneWeb constellation to date, proving its ability to provide superior broadband connectivity anywhere on the planet.

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