OneWeb has confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites from a Soyuz launch vehicle, which began flight from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

OneWeb rebirth continues with latest investment injection

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OneWeb has confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites from a Soyuz launch vehicle, which began flight from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

OneWeb has secured additional funding from SoftBank Group Corp. and Hughes Network Systems.

According to OneWeb its total capital raised to date, approximately US$1.4 billion, positions it “to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet, totalling 648 satellites, by the end of 2022.”

In December 2020, OneWeb launched 36 new satellites, built at its Airbus Joint Venture assembly plant in Florida, US, bringing the total fleet to 110 satellites, all fully-functioning and benefitting from International Telecommunication Union spectrum priority.

Masayoshi Son, Representative Director, Corporate Officer, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank, said, “We are excited to support OneWeb as it increases capacity and accelerates towards commercialisation. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Bharti, the UK Government and Hughes to help OneWeb deliver on its mission to transform internet access around the world.”

Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, added: “OneWeb’s mission is to connect everyone, everywhere. We have made rapid progress to re-start the business since emerging from Chapter 11 in November. We welcome the investments by SoftBank and Hughes as further proof of progress towards delivering our goal.”

In connection with the investment, SoftBank will gain a seat on the OneWeb Board of Directors. The company previously led an investment round in March 2019, when $1.25 billion of new capital was raised. Hughes is an investor through its parent company EchoStar, and also an ecosystem partner, developing essential ground network technology for the OneWeb system.

This new investment follows the announcement that OneWeb was drastically reducing its constellation size from the 48,000 proposed last year, to just 7,000.

OneWeb has reduced its request for US market access from 47,884 to 6,372 satellites (exclusive of those already licensed).

Airbus has signed a contract with Intelsat to build two OneSat satellites operating in multiple frequency bands for Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network. The contract was signed on 31 December 2020.

Intelsat selects OneSat for next gen SDS network

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Airbus has signed a contract with Intelsat to build two OneSat satellites operating in multiple frequency bands for Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network. The contract was signed on 31 December 2020.

Airbus has signed a contract with Intelsat to build two OneSat satellites operating in multiple frequency bands for Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network.

The satellites will be based on Airbus’ OneSat product line, the latest generation of fully flexible, in orbit reconfigurable, Software Defined Satellites (SDS).

Airbus will deliver an end-to-end fully integrated solution, including design and manufacture of the satellites. The highly capable ground segment software components, when fully integrated into Intelsat’s next-generation software defined network ecosystem and advanced digital suite will allow dynamic operation of end-to-end satellite resources. The two next generation SD satellites will be delivered in 2023.

The Airbus Software Defined satellites will deliver powerful performance and a ground-breaking experience for Intelsat customers across multiple geographic regions. This agreement also marks the beginning of a radical evolution of Intelsat’s network; Intelsat is pursuing an aggressive, multi-year network transformation plan with investments in new assets that are designed for extremely high speeds, enhanced capacity flexibility, redundancy and backwards compatibility.

Intelsat Chief Executive Officer Stephen Spengler said: “Intelsat’s investment in Airbus software defined satellites marks an important first step in evolving the world’s largest, most resilient, integrated space and ground network. Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network will be the catalyst for our growth, enabling future Gogo Commercial Aviation in-flight broadband services, as well as other managed services across Intelsat’s customer segments.”

OneWeb has confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites from a Soyuz launch vehicle, which began flight from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

OneWeb launch increases in-orbit constellation to 110 satellites

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OneWeb has confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites from a Soyuz launch vehicle, which began flight from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

OneWeb has confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites from a Soyuz launch vehicle, which began flight from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. This brings the total in-orbit constellation to 110 satellites, part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

Less than a month since its acquisition by the UK Government and Bharti Global, OneWeb is quickly returning to full operations putting the company on track to offer global services to customers starting with the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas, and Canada in 2021 with global service following in 2022.

Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO commented: “It’s inspiring to be part of a fast-returning organisation refocused on our mission of bringing connectivity to everyone, everywhere. Each launch moves us closer to our goal of building this much needed global, secure, trusted, enterprise-grade broadband network, powered from space. We look forward to offering our commercial services to global users.”

SKYTRAC for business aircraft

SKYTRAC partners with Scandinavian Avionics

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SKYTRAC for business aircraft

SKYTRAC Systems has entered into a partnership with Scandinavian Avionics, with the intention to increase market share for SKYTRAC’s recently announced broadband and mid-band SATCOM terminals. The new terminals are set to provide operators with increased capabilities and bandwidth up to 704 kbps.

“Scandinavian Avionics is one of the largest international avionics providers and STC houses in aviation. It was an easy decision to partner with the The SA Group to further explore opportunities for our SDL-350 and ISAT-200A-08 broadband and mid-band SATCOM systems,” commented Jan van der Heul, Vice President of Sales at SKYTRAC. “We’re excited to move forward with this partnership.”

The SA Group’s global presence will enable SKYTRAC to explore core segments such as unmanned, military, helicopters and business aviation. Their service offerings include design and STC development, installation kit manufacturing, aircraft modifications, component maintenance and global training solutions for civilian and military segments.

“We’re very interested to explore the SDL-350 and ISAT-200A-08 SATCOM systems,” said Michael Truelsen, CEO of Scandinavian Avionics. “We believe there is a strong market for Iridium Certus to compete with the legacy satellite systems, and we have great expectations for Iridium Certus from our customers as well. In general, the entire product range within SKYTRAC’s portfolio fits very well with our current capabilities and offerings, and we share the mindset of SKYTRAC; providing solutions, rather than products for our customers.”

Cranfield University’s DARTeC center

Inmarsat supports Cranfield University’s DARTeC initiative

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Cranfield University’s DARTeC center

Inmarsat is to provide engineering support, communications services and equipment to Cranfield University’s Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) consortium, which is set to open during the first quarter of 2021.

DARTeC will spearhead UK research into digital aviation technology.

Inmarsat and Honeywell Aerospace will support the Centre’s research by providing Aspire 400 satellite communications terminals, airtime and engineering expertise in the Saab 340B flying testbed and test lab for evaluation and development of future applications and solutions. The Saab 340B will effectively serve as a ‘flying laboratory’ to evaluate multiple advanced radar systems and airborne digital communications.

John Broughton, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat Aviation said: “Advances in digital aviation are driving innovation opportunities in all aspects of the airline industry. Today’s commitment with Honeywell Aerospace to support DARTeC highlights the importance of creating a collaborative research environment in the aviation industry. We are looking forward to working closely with other members of the DARTeC community to reap the rewards of a digital aviation industry for many years to come.”

Mark Goodman, Director of Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Inmarsat to support the DARTeC consortium and bring the benefits of the digital revolution to the aviation industry. There is no time to waste in responding to the opportunities of digital transformation and ensuring that the industry is ready to serve the needs of our airlines today and tomorrow.”

Comtech and Gilat end merger talks

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Comtech Telecommunications and Gilat Satellite Networks have agreed to terminate the merger agreement first announced on 29 January, 2020 and have settled all pending litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery. In connection with the termination and settlement agreement, Comtech has agreed to make a payment of US$70 million to Gilat.

The merger termination and the settlement agreement have been approved by each company’s board of directors and are effective immediately. The settlement calls for dismissal of the litigation, with prejudice. The trial of the litigation which was scheduled to begin today in Delaware Court of Chancery was accordingly cancelled.

In a joint statement, Fred Kornberg, Comtech’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Dov Baharav, Chairman of the Board of Gilat, said “While we both believed from the outset that the merger of these two great companies was a perfect marriage, the COVID-19 pandemic made the timing of the combination particularly challenging. We concluded, that under current conditions, the settlement is the best path forward for both companies and their respective stakeholders.”

Oneweb LEO satellite

OneWeb sale receives court approval

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Oneweb LEO satellite

The US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York confirmed OneWeb’s Chapter 11 plan of reorganisation (the “Plan”), ensuring that the company remains on target to resume full business operations imminently.

The Plan details a strong operational foundation for the company to deploy the initial 650 LEO satellite constellation under the new ownership of the UK Government and Bharti Global Limited (“Bharti”).  The transactions outlined in the Plan will be implemented following receipt of customary regulatory approvals, which are expected by the end of 2020. In the meantime, OneWeb is resuming operations and readying its commercial services which are planned to start next year.

Adrian Steckel, Chief Executive Officer of OneWeb, stated, “As we await the final mechanical components of the transaction, we set our eyes back to the skies with the resumption of launches later this year and commencing commercial services within a year. We are working closely with HMG and Bharti and are pleased with their commitment and partnership as we remain ever-focused on our mission to bring connectivity to communities and people around the world.”

Iridium Certus satellite

Collins Aerospace achieves Iridium Certus milestone

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Iridium Certus satellite

Collins Aerospace has become one of the first Iridium Certus aviation partners to connect an aviation-grade antenna, in this case an Active Low-Gain Antenna (ALGA), to the Iridium constellation.

Iridium Certus is a multi-service communications platform that claims to offer the highest speed L-band connectivity and only truly global mobile satellite service on the market.

The service will enable a variety of capabilities for cockpit safety, graphical weather, electronic flight bags, enhanced aircraft reporting, and other operational aircraft services for airline and government customers. It will offer this through small form factor antennas currently in testing, and terminals that are ideal for operators of smaller aircraft requiring internet connectivity.

BizJetMobile's CREWX messaging platform

BizjetMobile launches CrewX

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BizJetMobile's CREWX messaging platform

BizjetMobile, a distributor for ASIP Tech, has begun shipments of the CrewX global messaging platform.

Evolved from ASIP Tech’s commercial airline product fflya, to provide core communications for aircraft crew, CrewX is the only global Bluetooth solution leveraging off the latest Iridium Next satellites.

BizjetMobile’s CEO, Adam Chapman, said: “BizjetMobile’s goal is to provide the most versatile and affordable connectivity solutions in the industry. No longer will pilots and owners be concerned about bill shock. With CrewX they can stay connected with unlimited messaging data for the entire flight for a low monthly rate of US$199. With the entire system only costing $2,490 there is no other comparable solution.

Providing the ability to stay in touch with friends and family via Text, conduct business communications via Email and improve flight operations with a simple app-based Messaging system CrewX is the core of any aircraft operations. All you need is our CrewX small light-weight router that is easy to install and a 3-inch patch Iridium antenna. Compatible with both IOS and Android devices.”

OneWeb launch with Arianespace

OneWeb prepares for launch restart

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OneWeb launch with Arianespace

OneWeb is to restart its launch programme with Arianespace.

The amended agreement with Arianespace sees launches resume in December 2020, increasing OneWeb’s in-orbit fleet to 110 satellites. A further 16 launches will place another 34–36 satellites per launch to complete the deployment of its full global constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites by the end of 2022.

Commercial services are planned to be introduced by the end of 2021. Initial regions will include: The UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic seas and Canada.

The amended agreement remains subject to confirmation and consummation of OneWeb’s restructuring plan, as it plans to emerge from Chapter 11 protection, with HM Government and Bharti Global as the prevailing bidders in OneWeb’s bankruptcy sale process.

OneWeb anticipates the closing of the planned sale of the company in Q4 2020, subject to confirmation and consummation of OneWeb’s restructuring plan, court approval and regulatory consents.