OneWeb Satellites Inaugurates Florida Factory

Space.com | 7/28/2019 | Jeff Foust
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MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. — OneWeb Satellites, the joint venture of Airbus and OneWeb, formally opened its Florida factory that will soon be producing satellites for OneWeb's constellation at the rate of two per day.

The July 22 ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 9,750-square-meter factory, located just outside the gates of the Kennedy Space Center here, marked the formal opening of the facility, although its twin production lines are still being commissioned and have yet to start full-scale satellite production. The event attracted dignitaries that included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who was governor when Florida landed the deal three years ago to bring the factory to the state.

Factory - Satellites - Day - OneWeb - Company

Ultimately, the factory will be able to build two satellites a day for OneWeb, allowing the company to maintain a high launch cadence as it seeks to deploy its initial 648-satellite constellation over the next two years.

"We are going to pioneer serial satellite production," said Tony Gingiss, chief executive of OneWeb Satellites, at the ceremony. "It is something that has not been done in the industry."

Company - Factory - Ground - Mass - Production

The company designed the factory from the ground up to support mass production of satellites. The twin production lines are laid out to optimize assembly, and make use of robots known as automated guided vehicles to move components efficiently from one station to the next.

Company officials said on a tour of the factory that they are still testing various aspects of the assembly process, and didn't give an estimate on when full-scale production will begin. However, the first set of 34 OneWeb satellites, scheduled to launch in December on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, will be built at the factory. Additional launches will follow on a monthly cadence from Baikonur and the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's...
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