28 Feb 2019
900! This is the number of satellites that the American company OneWeb has planned to manufacture to provide Internet access for everyone, everywhere – even in the hard to reach area. The first 6 satellites of this mega-constellation have just been launched. Axon’ Cable has been selected to cable all 900 satellites by the Joint Venture in charge of the manufacturing of the spacecraft, Airbus-OneWeb Satellites that loves rising to the challenges.
This is by no means the first space experience for Axon’ Cable. The company has been providing data transmission harnesses for the Ariane 5 launcher since the early 90’s, and is involved in a considerable number of space projects worldwide. Scientific satellites including Gaia, earth observation satellites including Proba-V or Sentinel, not to mention Curiosity, NASA’s iconic Martian Rover, and the list goes on. Axon’ Cable has also been chosen for the main cabling of the ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars Rover which will explore the Red Planet in 2020.
The satellites of the OneWeb mega-constellation will be located in Low Earth Orbit (1200 km). Earth’s magnetic field and Atomic Oxygen corrosion are technical requirements that Axon’ engineers must take into account to design the satellite interconnect systems.
Industrial and reliable solutions
Axon’ space heritage has proved a decisive argument in favour of the company. But the OneWeb constellation is a ground-breaking project which involves the rapid production of satellites in volume. Lightweight (less than 150 kg), these spacecraft, using an optimized number of components, need to be easy to manufacture and launch.
As a long-standing supplier to the automotive and aeronautics industries, Axon’ has been able, with this dual expertise, to offer solutions and industrial processes adapted to the project. Miniature connectors and lightweight wires for weight saving, all-in-one harnesses with rapid assembling are only a few examples among the innovative integration solutions offered by Axon’. This contract should create several dozen qualified jobs including engineering posts. The Project management, the design and the manufacture of all the components of the different interconnects will be carried out in Montmirail in the Champagne region and the manufacture of the harnesses will take place across several sites of the group, both in France and abroad. First deliveries for Flight Models began in 2018.