• 19.03.2021
  • Spacecraft
  • Media release

RUAG Space Dispenser used for OneWeb Launch

When 36 OneWeb satellites launch on March 25 RUAG Space has critical mission products onboard like the satellite dispenser that was customized for the mega satellite constellation....

On March 25 OneWeb will launch further 36 broadband satellites aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia. 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.

About RUAG Space: RUAG Space is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe, and has a growing presence in the United States. In total, RUAG Space has about 1,300 employees across six countries. RUAG Space develops and manufactures products for satellites and launch vehicles—playing a key role both in the institutional and commercial space market. RUAG Space is part of RUAG International, a Swiss technology group focusing on the aerospace industry. Visit www.ruag.com/space, or view our RUAG Space product portfolio video: https://youtu.be/qNbSjUdlXxQ


Image 1: The OneWeb satellites are protected from heat and cold in orbit by golden foils from RUAG Space. Copyright: OneWeb Satellites. Download: https://onewebsatellites.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Slide3-1-768x397.jpg

Image 2: RUAG Space delivered the spacecraft containers and ground support equipment for the OneWeb constellation. Copyright: RUAG Space, Martin Steiger. Download: https://www.ruag.com/system/files/media_document/2021-03/Ground%20Support%20Equipment%20for%20OneWeb_Satellitencontainer_Copyright%20RUAG%20Space%2C%20Martin%20Steiger.jpg

Image 3: The dispenser from RUAG Space is able to deposit 36 satellites safely into orbit. Copyright: OneWeb Satellites. Download: https://onewebsatellites.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/first-launch.jpg

A typical communications satellite has up to 5,000 inserts added by hand. Thanks to the Automated Potting Machine from RUAG Space the production time was reduced from 30 minutes per insert down to just 90 seconds. Video: https://youtu.be/HoTVV-KRvec

Dispenser video: The RUAG Space dispenser is tailored to the need of a mega constellation like OneWeb, being able to deposit 36 satellites safely into space. Video: https://youtu.be/0fYTVImKGXk

Media contacts RUAG Space:
Philipp Bircher, Director Communication, Email: philipp.bircher@ruag.com, Tel.: +41 7979 011 81
Christian Thalmayr, Communication, Email: christian.thalmayr@ruag.com, Tel.: +43 1 801 99 2165
Web: www.ruag.com/space
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ruagspace

Media contact RUAG International:
Clemens Gähwiler, External Communication Manager, RUAG International; Tel. +41 76 319 28 58, clemens.gaehwiler@ruag.com