UK Looking to Combine British and European Satellite Constellations

The U.K. Space Minister wants Europe to use British OneWeb satellites now that they have merged with EutelSat. Europe wants to have a global sovereign connectivity network by 2027. Combining Efforts with the U.K. could be a large cost saving measure. The OneWeb Gen 2 platform is estimated to cost 4 Billion Euros, compared to a European standalone which would cost 6 Billion Euros. “It’s quite an interesting moment in the space economy, does security mean that you have to have your own constellation [or can you] have your own protected, encrypted bandwidth comms platform on shared spectrum?” -George Freeman, U.K. Science Minister.

OneWeb’s satellites were built by prime contractor Airbus OneWeb Satellites, a Florida-based joint venture the operator shares with Europe’s Airbus. Much of Gen 2 satellites would likely be built in France and Germany, Freeman said, “but there are bits of the supply chain that we are ready to supply.”. This would create a large multinational supply chain that would could be at risk for espionage. Europe aims to use the constellation for a range of services, including very secure communications between EU members, down to publicly accessible commercial services.