Internet and satellite communications provider OneWeb is leading a consortium of UK-based space businesses to create a beam-hopping satellite which will allow satellites to bolster coverage in areas with greater demand, and even respond to events such as natural disasters.
The research was supported by the UK Space Agency with £32 million in funding, which forms part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sunrise Program.
It is hoped that the consortium will be able to develop a prototype satellite by 2022, with the concept dubbed as the “Joey-Sat”.
UK Minister for Science Amanda Solloway outlined that the new development will bolster the UK’s ability to respond to disaster relief scenarios as well as providing critical civilian infrastructure.
“From helping during a disaster to providing broadband on planes, this amazing technology will show how next-generation 5G connectivity can benefit all of us on Earth,” Minister Solloway said.
“It is fantastic to see some of our finest space tech companies joining forces on this exciting project which will put the UK at the forefront of satellite communications technology.”
Chief technical officer at OneWeb Massimiliano Ladovaz welcomed the opportunity to partner with other technology providers for the satellite.
“Innovation and collaboration are at the core of OneWeb. Working together with our partners, Oneweb will accelerate the development and expansion of our cutting-edge technologies and manufacturing capabilities for the benefit of communities, enterprise and governments around the world,” Ladovaz commented.
“This is an exciting opportunity to work with talented potential supply chain partners, and we are delighted with the support from ESA and the UK Space Agency to bring continued innovation across the whole of OneWeb’s connectivity ecosystem.”
Elodie Viau, director of telecommunications and integrated applications at the ESA, welcomed the opportunity to support the growth of 5G connectivity.
“Joey-Sat will be used to demonstrate how next-generation 5G connectivity can benefit life on Earth. ESA is proud to support the space industry in Europe to bring such innovation to the competitive global telecommunications market. We congratulate all the partners involved,” Viau said.
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