OneWeb LLC constructs $85 million satellite-building facility

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Rendering of the satellite construction factory project from OneWeb's Greg Wyler's Twitter account

Greg Wyler, founder and executive chairman of OneWeb, has tweeted photos of the ongoing construction for the satellite-maker’s $85 million, 100,000-sq. ft. Orlando (Exploration Park) project on Aug. 3, showing that the building is going vertical. “Looks surreal,” he said in the tweet. “Mass production (of satellites) begins early 2018.”

The company broke ground on the project in March, The Orlando Business Journal reported.

OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture with Airbus Defense and Space, plans to launch hundreds of telecommunications satellites, many of those from Florida’s Space Coast, during the next several years — with a goal to build 15 satellites a week here, OneWeb CEO Brian Holz said in a statement.

Florida Construction News has asked for information to identify the architect/designer and the project’s general contractor, and will update this story when that information is available.

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Rendering of OneWeb’s new satellite plant

Wyler said the goal of his company has been to build and launch satellites that will spread interconnectivity across the globe. Each satellite is designed to provide up to 10 Gbps bandwidth in internet satellite. OneWeb will also use its factory to produce technology, including satellites, for other commercial and government customers, the company said in a news release.

The company is pioneering faster, more efficient satellite construction, Holz said — adding that expertise and experienced engineers from the Space Coast are needed, but the company is not trying to duplicate anything that already exists.

OneWeb also will work with various rocket companies such as Virgin Group and Blue Origin LLC to send the satellites to low Earth orbit. Blue Origin is a likely partner with OneWeb, as the company is building its $205 million, 750,000-sq. ft. rocket manufacturing center down the road from OneWeb. Blue Origin is expected to complete its building by end of this year.

The Space Coast facility could eventually add more than 250 jobs to the region, as OneWeb ramps up production. The company has landed more than $500 million in investment from corporate behemoths like Airbus Group, Coca Cola and Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.
Space Florida, the economic development agency for the space industry, arranged about $20 million in state incentives for the project.

Holz suggested that Exploration Park would need a donut shop soon for hungry engineers at OneWeb and across the street at the planned Blue Origin rocket manufacturing center.

OneWeb’s planned announcement follows the much-heralded news last fall that Blue Origin, the Jeff Bezos-owned space company, would build a $200 million facility that is expected to bring 330 jobs and break ground on Florida’s Space Coast this summer.


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