RUAG Space Contributed Substantial Products for AirBus OneWeb Satellites First Launch
When six Airbus OneWeb Satellites (OneWeb) launched onboard a Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou in French Guiana on February 27, RUAG Space had critical mission products onboard that were customized for the mega satellite constellation.
RUAG Space manufactured the satellite panels used by OneWeb Satellites at its new facility in Titusville, Florida. “We are committed to go where our customers are, and to invest if we are convinced about a project,” said RUAG Space CEO Peter Guggenbach. “We are excited to see the constellation materialize now.” In all, RUAG Space will manufacture structures for 900 satellites in the U.S. for OneWeb Satellites project—pioneering large volume, affordable spacecraft. When complete, OneWeb will circle the Earth to enable affordable internet access to citizens around the globe.
RUAG Space in Sweden built the satellite dispenser which functions as an interface between the Soyuz rocket and satellite. The dispenser is tailored to the need of a constellation like OneWeb, being able to deposit up to 36 satellites safely into space. For the First Launch however, the dispenser carried six real satellites and four dummies. The RUAG Space team was onsite in Kourou to help ensure a smooth launch.
RUAG dispensers are especially suitable for spacecraft constellations such as OneWeb, where a high number of spacecraft need to be placed in orbit within a short time frame. At its lower interface the dispenser structure is bolted to the launch vehicle upper stage. Each spacecraft is attached to the dispenser in separation nodes. The RUAG dispenser provides a stiff connection in each node during launch, a safe release and an accurate separation provided by the four separation nuts and spring units.
RUAG Space in Austria produced 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 the containers that OneWeb uses to transport the assembled satellites to the launch site in Kourou. These high-tech, custom satellite containers are used to transport the satellites to the worldwide rocket launch centers. The containers are equipped with a specifically designed damping systems and climate-control.
The Supplier of Satellites
The OneWeb satellite panels (shipsets) are manufactured in Titusville, Florida using the Automated Potting Process (APM). The APM process—developed by RUAG Space—is a revolutionary production method that uses a CNC machine to rapidly position special inserts filled with adhesive into the satellite structure’s sandwich panels. Our APM technology can dramatically reduce the production time down from 30 minutes per insert, to a quick 90 seconds. The inserts allow OneWeb and its partners to firmly attach equipment, instruments and/or sensors to the satellite structures. Each shipset consists of five panels equipped with APM inserts, embedded heat pipes, mirror tape, heater and thermal sensors.
“RUAG Space satellite structures serve as the backbone for all other modules on the satellite. In total, RUAG Space will deliver 4,500 equipped panels for the 900 GEN-1 satellite structures—the largest mass production of satellites in history,” said Mike Morningstar, President and Country Manager of RUAG Space USA.
Half the world has no way to connect to each other, and the products that RUAG Space has produced in support of this project will help OneWeb provide a communications blanket over the entire planet. When fully operational, OneWeb will aid the nearly four billion people around the world who currently have no access to reliable internet. The OneWeb project will allow people—particularly in developing and newly industrialized nations—tremendous new opportunities for information, education and economic growth.
About RUAG Space
RUAG Space is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe, with a growing presence in the United States. With around 1,300 staff across six countries, it develops and manufactures products for satellites and launch vehicles – playing a key role both in the institutional and commercial space market. RUAG Space is a division of the international technology Group RUAG. RUAG develops and markets internationally sought-after technology applications in the fields of aerospace and defence for use on land, in the air and in space. 56 percent of RUAG's products and services are destined for the civil market and 44 percent for the military market. The Group is headquartered in Bern (Switzerland). It has production sites in Switzerland and in 15 other countries in Europe, the USA and Asia-Pacific. RUAG generates sales of approximately CHF 1.96 billion and has over 9,200 employees – 400 of whom are trainees.
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High-Speed-Space video: 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 32 satellites safely into space. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/0fYTVImKGXk