Satellite broadband Internet: Can OneWeb beat Google and SpaceX?

OneWeb-launchersArianespace has placed an order for 21 Soyuz rockets with additional options for Soyuz 5 more three Ariane 6, the future European launcher. This command record, estimated between 1 and 2 billion dollars, is intended for the launch of OneWeb, a constellation of 648 satellites which provide global Internet access to all those who do not have access to residential broadband but also in vehicles, aircraft. In total, 900 satellites will be built to the chain by Airbus Defence & Space in Toulouse. The first launch is planned for 2017.

OneWeb against Google/SpaceX, the race against the clock is on

It is June 2015 that Airbus Defence & Space has been selected by Greg Wyler, the entrepreneur at the head of this project a little crazy to launch a constellation of more than 650 satellites to provide internet access to the entire planet.

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Airbus D&S will have to produce the OneWeb satellites at the unprecedented pace of 4 satellites per day for OneWeb has its constellation in the time.

These satellites, of 150 kg only and electric propulsion, will be built in the chain by the European and placed in orbit by clusters of 32 copies. Arianespace was chosen to perform the first launches, then, this should be Virgin Galactic that will take over. 39 flights of his LauncherOne at the rate of 3 satellite launch will be necessary for OneWeb features of a constellation full.
While OneWeb announced raised 500 million dollars that today ‘ hui, (on the requirements for the $ 1.5 to 2 billion in place of the full constellation), the announcement of a first launch as early as 2017 may seem a very short time. Greg Wyler is a pressed man. Elon Musk and his company SpaceX as well as Google and the Fidelity Fund already have 1 billion dollars on the table to implement a concurrent constellation. The first launch is scheduled for 2016, and the launch of the service is scheduled for 2020.

A OneWeb module to be fitted on a vehicle.

A OneWeb receiver module to be fitted on a vehicle.

Placed in low Earth orbit (1200 km), the satellite designed by Airbus for OneWeb should present a time of latency much lower than geostationary. The offered rate is expected to reach 50 Mbit/s. OneWeb network can be used as access broadband Internet in areas lacking infrastructure telecom via a circular antenna placed on the roofs of the houses, but also in vehicles and aircraft. The system will be operational up to 30,000 feet, the flight altitude of airliners. Each satellite will have a capacity of 8 GB/s and the total theoretical capacity of the constellation will reach 1 Tbit/s.
Will OneWeb and its European allies able to beat Google and Elon Musk at the post? The dice are launched!

Translation : Bing Translator

Sources :

“Vingt-et-un Soyouz pour OneWeb”, Air&Cosmos, june 25, 2015

“Airbus Agrees to Make Hundreds of Satellites for OneWeb Internet Service”, NBC News, June 15, 2015

“How SpaceX Plans to Test Its Satellite Internet Service in 2016”, NBC News, June 4, 2015

“Honeywell, OneWeb partner to offer satellite internet to aircraft”, Reuters, March 2, 2015

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