Each of OneWeb‘s post-bankruptcy investors plays a strategic role in the company’s future. Last week’s news of a new partner keeps that streak alive, as Korea’s Hanwha Systems added $300 million to the company’s coffers.
Hanwha brings further defense development capabilities to the company, as well as relationships to new government customers and expanded geographical reach.
Perhaps more importantly, however, Hanwha can deliver a critical component of the company’s technical roadmap. Expect to see electronically steered antenna (ESA) solutions provided by Hanwha to power the OneWeb customer terminals.
To OneWeb’s vision of connecting all the people across the globe, Hanwha System’s satellite and antenna technology will bring more advantages.– Youn Chul KIM President, Chief Executive Officer and Director at Hanwha Systems
Despite previously claiming the constellation as fully funded, OneWeb took on the additional equity partner. The strategic nature of Hanwha’s business will be key to a successful integration with OneWeb and to OneWeb’s overall success.
It also brings a name formerly deep in the commercial aircraft ESA space back to the fore: Phasor.
Phasor spent several years working on ESA technology, but never quite got to a deliverable product. It had a partnership with Gogo and even announced achievement of “initial core-technology performance objectives” in April 2019. Later that summer the tune changed rather dramatically.
Phasor continues to iron out some of the details related to the intended performance of their core antenna technology, while in parallel working with us and other partners on solutions related specifically to our inflight connectivity (IFC) application – getting something to work once and getting it to work in-flight reliably over the long term, are two very different challenges. Thermal management, power provisioning, mechanical interfaces, pointing on a moving platform – all this and more must be solved.
Many other, little changes happened along the way, but by June 2020 Phasor agreed to an acquisition by Hanwha rather than continuing to go it alone.
With Hanwha joining the OneWeb family and committing its antenna technology to the group’s future, Phasor – or at least parts of its legacy – are once again looking at the aero connectivity market as OneWeb continues to develop that segment of its business.
This deal brings OneWeb’s total equity investment since exiting bankruptcy in November 2020 to $2.7 billion. The companies expect the transaction to close in the first half of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.
OneWeb’s first generation fleet of 648 satellites is fully funded. To date, the company has launched 254 of the satellites into orbit. Another launch is slated for later this month from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Thanks to the success of recent launches, OneWeb’s network will be ready to offer connectivity services from 50th parallel and above by the end of 2021.
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