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Richmond's MDA joins OneWeb to build affordable web access with low orbit satellites

Richmond’s MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.
MDA satellites

Richmond’s MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. announced in early October it has joined an effort to provide affordable broadband access for potentially billions of users in emerging markets and rural areas using more than 900 low Earth orbit (500 miles or 800 km altitude) satellites.

The group, called OneWeb, plans to extend networks of existing mobile phone operators to serve new coverage areas. Initial production is planned for launch in early 2018.

MDA’s role will be to supply its antenna and payload design, plus engineering expertise. According to MDA, streamlining production, and the weight of the individual satellites are key components in making the OneWeb constellation a success.

In a press release, Daniel Friedmann, MDA’s president and CEO, said, “MDA’s strategy is to become a key supplier for LEO satellite constellations in both Earth observation and communications and we recognize that OneWeb’s architecture, team, technology and skill sets are creating a whole new opportunity for satellites and global communications. Currently we are building an advanced Earth observation constellation, and we look forward to supporting this large and very innovative communications system.”

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