Author Topic: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus  (Read 63116 times)

Offline GWH

Is the mass of each satellite and approximate height/width known yet?

Offline jongoff

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #121 on: 04/12/2018 11:17 PM »
Is it really the next best non-SpaceX option? Proton M has failed 9 time in 16 years. There is also Ariane 5 or 6, PSLV, Vega, Vulcan, and H-2/H-3.

They're a constellation where they're building 900 satellites to get 720 operational satellites--they care far more about launch costs than they do about reliability. It seems feasible that Proton Medium could be one of the cheapest non-SpaceX options.

But this also puts in perspective the NG purchase--that wasn't them betting it all on New Glenn eating the market, but more of being willing to take a risk on anyone other than Elon who was at least somewhat cost competitive with SpaceX. My guess is that if some credible fully reusable smallsat launcher came along that could do 6 OneWeb sats at a time (~1000kg to LEO) at a price point that was in the Proton/Soyuz/NewGlenn $/kg range, they'd probably be willing to put downpayments down on several of those flights as well.

~Jon
« Last Edit: 04/12/2018 11:19 PM by jongoff »

Offline jongoff

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #122 on: 04/12/2018 11:17 PM »
Is the mass of each satellite and approximate height/width known yet?

The public numbers from a while back were ~150kg each, though I don't know if they've provided any sort of public update on how close they actually came to that target.

~Jon

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #123 on: 04/13/2018 12:34 AM »
This lowers my confidence in OneWeb a fair bit. A genuinely inexplicable decision, even as preliminary as it is. Perhaps Roscosmos promised some incredibly subsidized prices out of desperation to rationalize Medium's development?
I really don't understand comments like this.  I know you think everyone should just book all of their flights on SpaceX, but if someone doesn't want to use SpaceX then this is the next best option.

Hm. I most certainly do not. ???

From a basic business-level perspective, a 10+ Proton Medium launch contract is a major risk, and particularly unusual so long as alternatives exist. Medium is not a completely new vehicle, but it's also far from identical to Proton-M, and does not have the records of success of Soyuz/Proton/Ariane. Proton-M has a decent 90% success rate, but the causes of its failures (largely organizational, especially quality control) will almost undoubtedly be exacerbated by attempts to desperately cut costs with Medium and Light.

It's reasonably logical that OneWeb would want to avoid contracting launches with SpaceX, but not logical enough to rationalize a rocket that has not flown over those that have. SpaceX has some serious problems themselves when it comes to QA and work organization, but Just not a risk I would take with $500m+ of launch costs and hundreds of millions of dollars of satellites. Proton has had 12 successes in a row; the Falcon family has had 24. Starlink is going to exist whether or not OneWeb marginally contributes with launch contracts.

The Proton payload fairings are larger than Soyuz, so Proton Medium could possibly be a better deal for this type of launch than Soyuz if they can fit more satellites per flight.  Ariane is just too expensive compared to the Russian vehicles.  Vega has a small fairing and low flight rate.  The Chinese vehicles can't be used.  India has a low flight rate.  Japan has a low flight rate and aren't cheap.  The cheaper/smaller Russian/Ukrainian vehicles aren't readily available anymore.

Offline GWH

The Atlas volume is so much higher still, wondering if a centaur could do 2 planes worth of deployments.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #125 on: 04/13/2018 03:26 AM »
Is it really the next best non-SpaceX option? Proton M has failed 9 time in 16 years. There is also Ariane 5 or 6, PSLV, Vega, Vulcan, and H-2/H-3.

They're a constellation where they're building 900 satellites to get 720 operational satellites--they care far more about launch costs than they do about reliability. It seems feasible that Proton Medium could be one of the cheapest non-SpaceX options.

But this also puts in perspective the NG purchase--that wasn't them betting it all on New Glenn eating the market, but more of being willing to take a risk on anyone other than Elon who was at least somewhat cost competitive with SpaceX. My guess is that if some credible fully reusable smallsat launcher came along that could do 6 OneWeb sats at a time (~1000kg to LEO) at a price point that was in the Proton/Soyuz/NewGlenn $/kg range, they'd probably be willing to put downpayments down on several of those flights as well.

~Jon
Well, I really hope OneWeb has the option to move the satellites to a cheaper launcher (i.e. New Glenn) if it works, because I have a hard time seeing how OneWeb could stay competitive if Proton failures delay deployment and they also have to eat expendable costs. Maybe they have something in their contract giving them an out in case of failures or delays.

And I agree with you about the small RLV. Something like this is perfect for a 1 ton, highly reusable and rapid turnaround RLV. Masten was working on something like this with Broadsword, but those plans have grown quiet since the XS-1 contract got sunk into the Boeing blackhole.

Other than China, no one else seems to be pursuing a small RLV, so there's still plenty of time if someone wanted to start on one.
« Last Edit: 04/13/2018 03:27 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Semmel

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #126 on: 04/13/2018 11:23 AM »
I lost track of history regarding OneWeb a bit. But I cant seem to find any public information about who the investors of OneWeb are. I also find it a bit dubious that they book flights from 4 different launch vehicles where 3 do not yet exist. New launch vehicles have the tendency to not be ready on time. And since the FCC permit requires 50% of launched sats within 6 years, OneWeb might loose the permit because the launch vehicles are not ready. Do they have enough launches booked on Soyouz to lift 50%?

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #127 on: 04/13/2018 02:01 PM »
I lost track of history regarding OneWeb a bit. But I cant seem to find any public information about who the investors of OneWeb are. I also find it a bit dubious that they book flights from 4 different launch vehicles where 3 do not yet exist. New launch vehicles have the tendency to not be ready on time. And since the FCC permit requires 50% of launched sats within 6 years, OneWeb might loose the permit because the launch vehicles are not ready. Do they have enough launches booked on Soyouz to lift 50%?

As per the beginning of this thread, OneWeb booked 21 Soyuz launches.  The first launch will carry 10 satellites; the rest up to 36 each.  That is enough to launch 100% of the initial operational constellation with a few spares, if everything goes perfectly.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/614087133574361088
Quote
Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes  28m28 minutes ago
Arianespace: 1 Soyuz lifts 32 OneWeb sats. >50% of our 21 OneWeb launches 2017-2019 to be frm Baikonur. 1st 10 pilot sats frm Europe's port.
https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/614087133574361088
Quote
Arianespace CEO: OneWeb 21-launch Soyuz deal is firm. We'll now order 20+ additional Soyuz rockets from Russia's Roscosmos agency by Sept.
https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/614087490757107713
Quote
Arianespace CEO: We'll sign separate contract soon w/ OneWeb to design/build adaptor to carry/deploy the sats for Soyuz launches.
Quote
At #OneWeb request, @Arianespace looking to increase Soyuz sat-dispenser capacity to 36 150-kg OneWeb sats, from 32: Arianespace's Breton.
https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/866831317937160192

Online eeergo

I lost track of history regarding OneWeb a bit. But I cant seem to find any public information about who the investors of OneWeb are.

Lead investor is SoftBank (Japanese telecom) who owns US' Sprint and Boston Dynamics for example, with important investments coming from Airbus D&S, Intelsat, Hughes, Qualcomm and Mittal's telecom branch Bharti Enterprises. Virgin Group is also a relevant partner, so it's not a shocker they would aim for LauncherOne missions.

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/oneweb/investors/investors_list

It is directed by Greg Wyler (http://www.oneweb.world/board/), founder of also O3b, which is 4 sats short of its initial constellation being completed. OneWeb was founded, apart from Wyler, by Sir Branson and Qualcomm's Mr Jacobs.

With this mix, even if I may lack some contextualization knowledge, it looks reasonable for OneWeb to incentivize the survival/development of a diverse array of LVs, if only for their partners' sake. Proton's future probably hinges on the success of Proton Medium, and it's a proven design, heritage vehicle it would be foolish to bury yet IMO.
-DaviD-

Offline GWH

Is the mass of each satellite and approximate height/width known yet?

The public numbers from a while back were ~150kg each, though I don't know if they've provided any sort of public update on how close they actually came to that target.

~Jon

Quote
At #OneWeb request, @Arianespace looking to increase Soyuz sat-dispenser capacity to 36 150-kg OneWeb sats, from 32: Arianespace's Breton.
https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/866831317937160192
[/quote]

As a very coarse approximation of Soyuz's ~90 cubic metre fairing each satellite would occupy around 2.5 cubic metres. Less is likely to account for dispenser.

Offline jongoff

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #130 on: 04/13/2018 10:15 PM »
I lost track of history regarding OneWeb a bit. But I cant seem to find any public information about who the investors of OneWeb are. I also find it a bit dubious that they book flights from 4 different launch vehicles where 3 do not yet exist. New launch vehicles have the tendency to not be ready on time. And since the FCC permit requires 50% of launched sats within 6 years, OneWeb might loose the permit because the launch vehicles are not ready. Do they have enough launches booked on Soyouz to lift 50%?

Re investors, I think they've closed over $1.7B worth of investment so far, from a mix of investors including SoftBank, Virgin Group, and others.

AIUI, they have booked enough Soyuz flights booked to launch all or most of all of their first constellation. The contracts with Virgin are for subsequent gap filler launches (replacing failed satellites on an as-needed basis). The New Glenn contract was for a launch of a subsequent constellation (putting down a down payment for one or two flights of a promising new vehicle). For Proton we're still talking a russian media rumor, but if true, it would also likely be for their second constellation.

~Jon

[once again illustrating the benefit of reading subsequent replies first to see if someone else has answered the question--oh well]
« Last Edit: 04/13/2018 10:16 PM by jongoff »

Offline Semmel

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #131 on: 04/19/2018 07:16 PM »
Thanks for the updates, that was very informative!

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #132 on: 04/20/2018 04:18 AM »
OneWeb satellite bus to also now be used for an earth observation constellation?!?


https://earthnow.com/

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45513.0

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #133 on: 04/20/2018 04:29 AM »
OneWeb satellite bus to also now be used for an earth observation constellation?!?


https://earthnow.com/

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45513.0
Why not? It's a cheap bus, and Airbus has the rights to sell the bus for other uses.

I think Starlink is hinted at being used for Earth observation as well.
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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #134 on: 04/25/2018 07:07 AM »
Quote
Inside OneWeb's new (under construction) satellite factory at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

https://twitter.com/flspacereport/status/988952668453462016

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #135 on: 05/01/2018 08:31 PM »
[Space News] OneWeb shifts first launch to year’s end

First launch (10 sats) in Q4, directly to 1200km orbit.
Subsequent launches (36 sats most flights, 34 on some) sent to 500km orbit.
Sats are 145kg each.

Offline jongoff

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #136 on: 05/02/2018 11:29 PM »
Additional interesting tidbits:

1- Apparently the Blue Origin New Glenn flights are still only at the non-binding MOU status, not actual contracts (ie likely no down-payments).
2- I liked the picture of a flight satellite under assembly.
3- Interesting that some Soyuz flights will have 34 satellites vs 36.

Pretty interesting news all around.

~Jon

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #137 on: 05/03/2018 12:45 AM »
Additional interesting tidbits:

1- Apparently the Blue Origin New Glenn flights are still only at the non-binding MOU status, not actual contracts (ie likely no down-payments).
2- I liked the picture of a flight satellite under assembly.
3- Interesting that some Soyuz flights will have 34 satellites vs 36.

Pretty interesting news all around.

~Jon
A year ago, weren't they set to launch in March of this year?
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Offline jongoff

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #138 on: 05/03/2018 01:30 AM »
Additional interesting tidbits:

1- Apparently the Blue Origin New Glenn flights are still only at the non-binding MOU status, not actual contracts (ie likely no down-payments).
2- I liked the picture of a flight satellite under assembly.
3- Interesting that some Soyuz flights will have 34 satellites vs 36.

Pretty interesting news all around.

~Jon
A year ago, weren't they set to launch in March of this year?

I may be remembering but I thought the date given last year was May. They're going for full-capability flight-like demo sats, so it's not surprising they are taking a bit longer than subscale demo sats.

~Jon

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: OneWeb constellation (+900 sats) to be built by Airbus
« Reply #139 on: 05/03/2018 01:45 AM »
Additional interesting tidbits:

1- Apparently the Blue Origin New Glenn flights are still only at the non-binding MOU status, not actual contracts (ie likely no down-payments).
2- I liked the picture of a flight satellite under assembly.
3- Interesting that some Soyuz flights will have 34 satellites vs 36.

Pretty interesting news all around.

~Jon
A year ago, weren't they set to launch in March of this year?

I may be remembering but I thought the date given last year was May. They're going for full-capability flight-like demo sats, so it's not surprising they are taking a bit longer than subscale demo sats.

~Jon

As of this time a year ago, they had planned for March of 2018:
"OneWeb explained that its first satellites are currently set to be launched in March 2018. "
https://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/oneweb-track-for-its-first-satellites-to-be-operational-less-than-one-year
(I think May wasn't announced until October 2017.)

They had planned very close to flight-like capability sats before, too.

I just think they're spinning the fact they're at least 9 months late from where they said they would be just 1 year ago. That's nearly a 1:1 slip.


Which isn't surprising. Slips happen to everyone in this industry, not just he_who_shall_not_be_named, regardless of rhetoric.
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