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FIRST UP Satcom | First OneWeb satellites shipped for launch • Laser ground stations linked to Facebook

23 Jan 2019, 18:17 UTC
FIRST UP Satcom | First OneWeb satellites shipped for launch • Laser ground stations linked to Facebook
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OneWeb and its manufacturing partner Airbus Defence and Space have shipped the first six satellites of OneWeb’s broadband smallsat constellation from Toulouse, France, to French Guiana. Those six satellites are scheduled to launch Feb. 19 on an Arianespace-operated Soyuz rocket. OneWeb originally planned to launch 10 satellites on the first launch, but reduced the number to six in order to keep four as spares. Arianespace is launching the roughly 150-kilogram satellites directly to their 1,200-kilometer operating orbit. [Airbus]
Two “observatories” under construction in California could house laser ground stations for Facebook. Local construction permits from the County of Los Angeles link the observatories to PointView Tech, a company IEEE Spectrum traced back to Facebook last year and work on an experimental satellite called Athena. Facebook tested laser communications with a drone program it canceled last year using terminals from Mynaric, a Germany company that builds terminals for drones, high-altitude platforms and satellite communications. Mynaric said it tested laser communications during Facebook’s Aquila drone project, but declined to say if it is still working with the internet giant. [IEEE Spectrum]
Viacom, a long time customer of satellite capacity for television broadcasts, said it will buy Pluto TV, a free ...

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