April 18, 2021

WI-FI in aircraft coming soon via satellites courtesy of OneWeb’s Recovery

Commercial plane passengers will soon start enjoying broadband internet because of OneWeb. The company has a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, which will facilitate the connection. OneWeb announced this news that it would collaborate with SatixFy for them to enable connectivity for those aboard. That is going to work with the growing constellation of OneWeb and also the geostationary satellite networks. These terminals are going to use multi-beam antenna Technologies. Therefore, they will operate at the same time despite being connected to many satellites.

This ability to use multi-satellite, Multi-Beam, and multi-orbit connectivity terminals during flights is essential for SatixFy and its offering. It will enable them to put the capacity from several satellites to get value for their money by receiving services they deserve to get on a flight. That was explained by Yoel Gat, who is the chief executive of SatixFy.

From space to satellites, these sectors are increasingly becoming of great importance to a digital economy. It is crucial to receive data in real-time, including on the airplane, all the time, and from everywhere. It was said by Elodie Viau, who is the ESA’s director in charge of telecommunications and integrated applications. This advancement is a mark of positive steps by OneWeb following a challenging 2020. As a result of the situation, the company faced a liquidity crisis amid the pandemic. The company reduced its staff rapidly by about 85%, which left only 80 members. The company has been blaming the pandemic and the high satellite landing services cost for their financial difficulties and competitions from SpaceX’s Starlink constellation.

There was a Consortium that was under the leadership of Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Global in July 2020. The UK government and Bharti Global agreed to buy OneWeb, and they each committed $500 million. The UK government is OneWeb as a partner during the creation of a UK global navigation satellite system to no longer rely on the EU’s Galileo System.

There was further funding in January this year that raised $400 million. Hughes Network Systems and SoftBank were the sources, and they brought the total of this funding to approximately $1.4 billion. It is enough money to enable OneWeb to find its need to manufacture up to 648 satellites it is planning for its constellation. However, this is not enough to allow them to launch by their target of mid-2022. Mittal had suggested previously that they would require an extra $1 billion for them to hit their target.

OneWeb LEO currently comprises 110 satellites, and they have plans to increase the number of their constellation’s satellites as fast as possible. For instance, if things go as planned, they will add up to 36 more satellites during the next launch to be on March 25th; this will see an additional 36 new satellites launched into orbit.
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