OneWeb Satellites has inaugurated its assembly line in Toulouse to begin end-to-end validation, testing, and integration of its first satellites set for launch in just over nine months.
OneWeb Satellites has inaugurated a prototype production line in Toulouse (France) to assemble and test the first 10 satellites, and check and validate industrial solutions for series production.
The 4,600m2 Toulouse facility will serve to validate the production methods necessary to manufacture high-performance satellites at a scale never achieved before, de-risk any potential issues, and lay the framework for the larger multi-line OneWeb Satellites factory near the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
The initial 10 pilot and Toulouse-built satellites, after having undergone a comprehensive set of tests, will become the first of OneWeb’s fleet.
OneWeb Satellites is a joint venture between OneWeb, a global communications company whose mission is to provide affordable Internet access to everyone on Earth, and Airbus Defence and Space with its first order to include the production of 900 communications satellites for OneWeb’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite fleet.
The Toulouse assembly line will include state-of-the-art automation, test equipment and data acquisition capabilities to shorten assembly times and provide means to analyze factory performance and process improvements.
These satellites will provide valuable in-orbit data to confirm the design of the spacecraft and proceed with fine-tune adjustments if necessary. They will also enable nearly real-time detection and correction of any anomalies in the manufacturing process.
As well as building the fleet of satellites, OneWeb Satellites will provide customized versions of these ultra-high performance satellites, platforms and core technologies to Airbus to support their third party sales to other commercial and government operators globally.
The mini-satellites, coming from the huge production line, will enable new cost and performance paradigms for those looking to benefit from the advantages satellites can bring to Earth observation, sensor and telecommunications markets.
Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus, declared: “Never before have high-quality satellites been produced at such little cost, at such a fast pace and in such high quantities.”