MDA Partners with OneWeb on Massive LEO Satellite Constellation

Orbital Coverage by OneWeb. Credit: OneWeb.

MDA is the latest high profile company to partner with OneWeb in its effort to build a constellation of over 900 small satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to provide affordable broadband services to areas of the Earth that are underserved.

MDA will provide OneWeb with antenna for the satellite constellation and payload design and engineering services. Terms of the deal were not announced. However, should OneWeb raise sufficient funds to build the complete constellation of over 900 satellites, the resulting contract would be significant to MDA.

MDA’s Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue office on the West Island of Montreal will perform the work.
Daniel Friedmann, MDA’s president and CEO, said, “MDA’s strategy is to become a key supplier for LEO satellite constellations in both Earth observation and communications and we recognize that OneWeb’s architecture, team, technology and skill sets are creating a whole new opportunity for satellites and global communications. Currently we are building an advanced Earth observation constellation, and we look forward to supporting this large and very innovative communications system.”

In June of this year OneWeb announced its first round of funding at $500 million from investors including the Airbus Group, Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems, Intelsat, Qualcomm, The Coca-Cola Company, the Virgin Group, and Totalplay, a Grupo Salinas Company.

Brian Holz, Vice President Space Systems, OneWeb, said, “MDA has deep experience in communication satellite payloads and the design of mass produced satellite components. We welcome their support of OneWeb’s mission to enable affordable Internet access for everyone with a constellation that will bring more than 10 Terabits per second of new capacity into hard-to-reach areas around the globe.”

With a constellation of over 900 satellites OneWeb will require launch services from multiple providers and has already signed a launch contract with Virgin Galactic for 39 launches and Arianespace for twenty-one Soyuz launches, plus options for five additional Soyuz launches and three Ariane 6 launches.
OneWeb plans to launch its first satellites in 2018.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

Leave a Reply