Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

OneWeb Breaks Ground on Satellite Factory at Kennedy

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
March 19, 2017
Filed under , , , , , , , , , ,

One Web Satellites Ground Breaking ceremony at Exploration Park. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The portfolio of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will soon include large-scale satellite manufacturing following Thursday’s groundbreaking for a 150,000-square foot spacecraft factory in the center’s Exploration Park.

“This is all a part of our vision for a multi-user spaceport,” said Kelvin Manning, associate director of Kennedy. “I think when people signed up to work at Kennedy Space Center, they wanted to come to the place where we launch rockets.”

Planned OneWeb production facility in Exploration Park, Fla. (Credit: OneWeb)

OneWeb, in partnership with Airbus’ American branch, intends to build 2,000 satellites that will form a constellation capable of wirelessly connecting every portion of the world to the Internet. The satellites will launch from the Kennedy spaceport as well, some on New Glenn rockets that will be built in the Blue Origin factory across the street from the OneWeb facility. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne, an air-launched rocket flying from the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy, also will send some of the OneWeb satellites into orbit.

Rick Scott, governor of Florida, hailed the company’s decision to open the factory at Kennedy, noting the company’s goals enhance the value of the commercial space environment as it develops.

OneWeb satellite factory in Florida (Credit: OneWeb)

“OneWeb’s building this factory and providing jobs and they’re going to provide affordable Internet access worldwide so everybody has a chance to experience the Internet and get the benefits of the Internet,” Scott said.

The development is part of renaissance at the space center built on a philosophy of opening the center’s extensive capabilities and work force to commercial enterprises as well as government operations. It also works close partnerships with organizations such as Space Florida which administers Exploration Park.

“This is another exciting addition to the Multiuser Spaceport at the Kennedy Space Center,” said Tom Engler, acting director of Kennedy’s Center Planning and Development. “Having the OneWeb factory adding to all of the great capability that is here at Kennedy is fantastic. Seeing how we continue to evolve is going to be very exciting.”

Photos by NASA/Kim Shiflett, concept art by OneWeb.

3 responses to “OneWeb Breaks Ground on Satellite Factory at Kennedy”

  1. windbourne says:

    cool. let the fun get started.
    Hopefully, with this factory, they will use it to produce OTHER sats as well.

    • duheagle says:

      That may well be the intention. Given that the number of sats in OneWeb’s originally announced constellation has been bumped up and that a new, second constellation of 2,000 sats operating in a different frequency band has recently been announced, I think strictly in-house work is likely to keep the new plant busy for some time.

Leave a Reply