OneWeb to announce Florida site, the “first ever” to mass manufacture satellites

OneWeb will manufacture the world’s largest constellation of small satellites next to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with a goal of using these to provide high-speed, global internet access.

Reuters reports that OneWeb, which has raised $US 500 million from backers including Virgin, Airbus and Qualcomm, will have an initial production run of 900 satellites, and plans to have a fleet up and running as early as 2019.

An official announcement will be made on Tuesday morning, reports AAP. This will be held at Kennedy, with the site to be at an adjacent industrial park.

AAP notes that this will be the first-ever example of mass manufacturing of satellites.

The Orlando Sentinel speculated last week that OneWeb could set up on the Florida’s Space Coast region, possibly at Kennedy’s Space Life Sciences Lab, and had begun a hiring spree on local space engineers.

Currently, the largest fleet of small satellites in orbit belongs to Planet Labs, an earth-imaging company co-founded by Australian Chris Boshuizen.