One Web Satellite Emerges From Bankruptcy and Returns to Full Satellite Production

OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) broadband satellite communications company,is emerging from U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is restarting production of satellites. A consortium of UK Government (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global, has invested $1 billion of new equity to offer broadband connectivity services, via a constellation of 650 LEO satellites.

A factory near Kennedy Space Center is returning to full production of eight satellites a week.

OneWeb Satellites’ factory began operations in March 2019, to build satellites for OneWeb’s planned constellation of up to 650 broadband communications satellites. The company made over 70 satellites in 12 months.

OneWeb is a competitor to SpaceX Starlink. SpaceX Starlink has about 955 satellites in orbit and is launching about 180 new satellites every month. SpaceX should have 1440 satellites deployed for its full phase 1 by February or March.

OneWeb will launch throughout 2021 and 2022. OneWeb will begin commercial connectivity services to the UK and the Arctic region in late 2021 and will expand to delivering global services in 2022.

Written by Brian Wang,

19 thoughts on “One Web Satellite Emerges From Bankruptcy and Returns to Full Satellite Production”

  1. But none of those are bandwidth constrained – well, maybe closet constrained, but that is end point, not delivery routes. There can still be competition just as there is among utilities now, but you don't have multiple electric lines going into homes, one for each deliverer. Same for communications lines. And space is not infinite in orbit either, nor, really, are microwave signals, which can interfere with each other if they overlap.

  2. That's not a great analogy. We have multiple companies serving the same customers for all sorts of goods and services.
    From radio and TV through to pizzas and clothing stores.
    Generally, the markets with lots of competing suppliers are the ones that give the best products for the best value.

  3. The Space Force is extremely important and necessary right now. Russia and China have already militarized space and have been testing both directed energy weapons and kinetic weapons. A better thesis would be to outlaw kinetic weapons in space and leave directed energy weapons instead. Those don’t cause debris.

  4. That's better, but why should multiple companies serve the same customers, overlapping each other? We don't have multiple cable lines going into homes, for the last mile, but are used by whatever company is allowed to cover a given area, auctioned off to the highest bidder.

  5. It is. This is UK's preemptive response to being kicked out as inner partners of Galileo, and to avoid being too dependent on their allies.

  6. In fact the debris raining down on Earth are the best possible outcome. Either it burns or it falls somewhere, but it's over.

    It's the debris that don't fall and remain orbiting which are the problem.

  7. Low Earth Orbit stuff just comes down and burns up…often intentionally deorbited. The geostationary stuff retires to a graveyard orbit that is somewhat higher.
    All we need is to permit a licence to collect stuff no nonger in use. That is easier to get than astroids, and there is gold in them there satolites. Collet it all into one place and make recycled satolites with the components. Melt down what is hoplessly obsolete.
    The real danger is not the number of satolites, as the volume of orbital space is emence. The real danger is weapons blowing stuff up and then those bit and peices going everywhere in Low Earth Orbit messing up your expensive constellations for a few years.
    We really need to avoid the weaponization of space. And the first step is to disband the U. S. Space Force. At some point we may need it…like in 70 years, but it is foolish to provoke a response from the other powers and escalate the militarization of space.

  8. “Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.”

    Earth's radius is 3,963 miles. Orbital altitudes of from 400 to 600 miles (or 200-300 extra on the Earth's radius) gives 4163 and 4263 miles radii.

    Plugging those numbers into a sphere volume calculator and subtracting the lower from the higher radius gives a difference of 22,305,562,100 cubic miles. 22.3 BILLION cubic miles.

    Figure each Starlink satellite volume's about 60 cubic meters when fully expanded. Times 42k, that's about 2.52 million cubic meters. Converted to cubic miles – that's 0.0006045804 cubic miles.

    Huh. Didn't think it'd be that small. So it doesn't seem like orbital space is excessively crowded… YMMV, of course. But if you know where the orbits are, there shouldn't be any problem, I'd think. (The movie 'Gravity' wasn't exactly scientifically accurate…)

  9. You have such a good grasp of orbital mechanics, I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    (Well, not.)

  10. "emerging from bankruptcy"

    And now they want to compete? Kind of like climbing out of the hole that Thor's hammer knocked you in to and discovering the Hulk and several of his friends are waiting for you and cracking their knuckles.

  11. How the heck can multiple companies but up SAT networks if Starlink puts up 42,000! Heck, I don't know how Starlink is going to do this without making rocket launches nearly impossible to do without a collision.

  12. Mark my words, someday there is going to be an accident, possibly catastrophic, with these thousands of satellites and a manned or unmanned vehicle, possibly large enough to rain debris back down to Earth.
    Communications Space should be allocated like terrestrial bandwidth over radio waves, as a finite resource, and charged for appropriately as "rent", but by an international body.
    And anyone who wishes to use space for satellites should have a plan for what happens when those satellites reach the end of their lifespan. Perhaps their should be a common fund, in case companies like Oneweb go bankrupt (again).

  13. For Britain, a possible alternative to the Galileo GPS system? 

    A scenario for use of the StarLink constellation as an alternative GPS platform was already suggested.

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