Satellite production facility opens in Merritt Island

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The world’s first high-volume, high-speed advanced satellite production facility opened in Brevard County on Monday.

OneWeb Satellites is the first satellite production company to rapidly produce satellites at a lower cost than any other satellite on the market at about $1,000,000 each. 

OneWeb and Airbus Americas teamed up for the venture to make space technology far more accessible.

“Instead of a one-satellite-at-a-time program, we’re turning it into something that looks a lot like the Henry Ford vision of cars mass production,” said Airbus Americas Chairman and CEO C. Jeffrey Knittel. 

He said the fully-automated production line will be able to build at least two fully-assembled satellites every day, using a combination of skilled manufacturing engineers, robotics and smart tools.

OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said the goal is also to bring high-speed internet connectivity to everyone, everywhere. 

“If you see the sky, you’ve got our service and if you don’t see the sky, well you’re not going to get anybody’s service,” he said.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross attended the grand opening ceremony and commended OneWeb Satellites on its work. 

“It demonstrates your drive to do great and important things to create new companies, new industries, new jobs and hope for billions of people,” Ross said.

Officials said the new production plant will create opportunities for close to 3,000 people with most of them being in Florida. 

Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, said it could also mean more opportunities for Brevard County. 

“To choose this place means we have what it takes to have the companies now and the companies in the future,” Weatherman said.

Six satellites have already been launched, and starting in December, OneWeb Satellites will start launching 34 satellites a month. 

The initial goal is to launch 650 satellites and eventually close to 2,000. 

They hope to provide service everywhere in the world in two years. 

OneWeb Satellites also hopes to bring its product to the larger commercial sector and military applications.