OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space launch joint venture

Prospective satellite-based internet provider OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space have announced a joint venture named OneWeb Satellites.

The venture – equally owned by OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space – is aimed to design and build OneWeb's 900-satellite constellation which claims to provide high-speed internet with global coverage. It will be led by Brian Holz as CEO. 

"Airbus is a key partner to our success as we move forward and are very happy to have them being a part of OneWeb and our new joint venture. We are benefitting from Airbus Defence and Space’s manufacturing and assembly knowledge as we look to initiate services,” said Matt O’Connell, CEO of OneWeb. 

“As we build out the constellation, besides its very reliable satellite performance heritage and technical support, Airbus brings design for manufacturing capability into this operation which is key to achieving both our short term and long term goals for providing cost effective solutions on time for our future customers,” added O’Connell.

In addition, OneWeb Satellites will build satellites, platforms and equipment to be marketed by Airbus Defence and Space to other operators of future constellations. 

Eric Béranger, head of programmes Space Systems, said: “On both sides of the Atlantic, our teams are now working under a common flag to meet the incredible challenge: to mass-produce 900 satellites for the OneWeb constellation.”

The two companies have been working on the design of the constellation for several months and exploring ways of manufacturing. The next step will be to set up a prototype line in Toulouse, France for the production of the first 10 satellites that will then be used to test the industrialisation method for the production of other satellites.