A joint venture between Airbus and communications company OneWeb has opened the world’s first high-volume satellite production facility.
OneWeb Satellites’s new facility is located in Exploration Park, Florida, a space leased by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Occupying 105,500 sq ft, the factory has two production lines capable of producing the 150 kg spacecraft.
In the company’s press release, the site was said to be the first ever to apply industrial mass production techniques to the building of satellites, with the benefit of reducing costs and production times. In line with its goals of making space technology more accessible, OneWeb Satellites claims that two of the 60 kg payload satellites can be delivered a day, one per production line.
“OneWeb Satellites and its partners are transforming the satellite and space industry. By producing high quality satellites at a fraction of the cost and schedule of traditional manufacturers, we are not only enabling OneWeb to connect the planet, we are making space dramatically more accessible to everyone,” said Tony Gingiss, CEO of OneWeb Satellites.”
The facility’s current plan is to support the creation of an initial network of 650 satellites for OneWeb, before scaling up to 1,980 satellites for global coverage.
“This is a defining moment in the history of OneWeb, and the space industry. With today’s opening, we are one step closer to connecting the unconnected for the benefit of societies all over the world,” said Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb. “As we gear up for more satellite launches at the end of the year, this facility will ensure we can begin delivering global connectivity in some areas as early as next year and globally in 2021.”