OneWeb will be launching further 36 broadband satellites aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia on March 25. OneWeb is building a communications network with a constellation of low-Earth-orbit satellites that will deliver affordable internet access around the world.
As a key supplier to OneWeb Satellites, RUAG Space built the satellite dispenser, which functions as an interface between the Soyuz rocket and satellites. The dispenser is tailored to the need of a constellation like OneWeb, being able to deposit up to 36 satellites safely into space. “Our dispenser is super-light and includes state-of-the-art technology to safely place the satellites in orbit,” says Holger Wentscher, Senior Vice President Product Group Launchers at RUAG Space. Dispensers from RUAG Space, produced in Sweden, are especially suitable for spacecraft constellations such as OneWeb, where a high number of satellites need to be placed in orbit within a short time frame. OneWeb Satellites—a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus—is OneWeb’s industrial partner and leads the design and manufacturing of OneWeb’s fleet of satellites.
Satellite panels with rapid production
RUAG Space manufactures the satellite panels used by OneWeb Satellites in Titusville, Florida. The OneWeb structures (satellite back-bone) are manufactured using the Automated Potting Process (APM). The APM process—developed by RUAG Space—is a revolutionary production method that uses a pick and place machine to rapidly position special inserts filled with adhesive into the satellite structure’s sandwich panels.
Thermal insulation and custom containers
In Austria, RUAG Space produces the multi-layer thermal insulation which protects the OneWeb satellites against the cold and heat in space from approx. minus 150°C to plus 150°C (-238 degrees F to 302 degrees F). The insulation consists of several layers of metal-evaporated polyimide film. RUAG Space in Austria also built handle equipment and containers. The high-tech, custom satellite containers are used to transport the assembled OneWeb satellites from Florida to the launch sites, in this case Russia. The containers are equipped with a specifically designed damping system and climate-control.