Thursday, March 31, 2016

Up In The Air

Click to watch the Fox 35-TV Orlando news report about OneWeb coming to the Space Coast.

The Orlando Sentinel reported today that space Internet startup OneWeb is hiring for jobs in Melbourne.

OneWeb has been scouting a possible location on the Space Coast. The company hasn’t officially announced a Florida location yet, but its website shows job postings in Melbourne, about 40 miles south of Kennedy Space Center — a clear sign the company has plans for the region.

OneWeb’s arrival would add to a recent string of good news for Central Florida's Space Coast, which last year saw space company Blue Origin announce a new rocket-engine testing facility at Cape Canaveral.

Space Florida is about to award a major new contract to build a new 120,000-square-foot spacecraft-assembly building at Kennedy Space Center. Although Space Florida would not confirm the tenant, among many possibilities, one of the most likely occupants is OneWeb, which did not return requests for comment.

The article included this excerpt from a Space Florida document showing a “Spacecraft Integration Facility” at Exploration Park near KSC.

The Orlando Sentinel speculated the site might be for OneWeb, but other commercial suitors abound, including Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada.

Blue Origin already has announced intentions to build at Exploration Park and launch from the Cape's Complex 36.

Sierra Nevada recently won a NASA commercial cargo award for its Dream Chaser spaceplane. Sierra Nevada announced in January 2014 it intended to use KSC's Operations & Checkout facility for Dream Chaser, but that was before the company lost its commercial crew bid.

OneWeb announced in June 2015 that its microsats would be deployed using both Russian Soyuz rockets and a Virgin Galactic LauncherOne booster deployed beneath the left wing of a 747.

Both KSC's former Shuttle runway and the Orlando Melbourne International Airport can handle 747 takeoffs and landings.

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