OneWeb, a British Channel Islands-based startup backed by Virgin Group and Qualcomm, plans to create a galaxy of satellites for Internet communications. Airbus Defense and Space has been tapped to design and build the satellites.
Under a launch agreement announced June 25, Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne rocket will perform 39 satellite launches for OneWeb, with options for 100 additional launches. Europe’s Arianespace will provide 21 launches using the Soyuz rocket, as previously announced,
“The scale of this order will drive our manufacturing rates to achieve unprecedented cost reductions for small satellite launch Virgin Galactic,” CEO George Whitesides said.
Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne program is being developed by a staff of 120 engineers and technicians working from a new 150,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Long Beach, Calif. The company tests its rocket engines at company’s facilities in Mojave, Calif.
OneWeb was founded by satellite-industry veteran Greg Wyler.