OneWeb, whose goal is to connect everyone everywhere, and OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between Airbus and OneWeb are coming together to advance the OneWeb Responsible Space program with a commitment to implement an advanced-technology grappling fixture, developed by Altius Space Machines, on OneWeb’s satellites.
Dedicated to the idea that Space is a shared natural resource and if used responsibly, can help transform the way we live, work, and connect, OneWeb and OneWeb Satellites are leading the satellite industry in ensuring that multiple types of removal technology are developed and embedded in every satellite launched to prevent the creation of Space debris.
“Space has never been more accessible than it is today, and there are tremendous benefits for humanity to be gained through Space applications,” said Tim Maclay, OneWeb Director of Mission Systems Engineering. “It is critical we do all we can to employ responsible design and operational practices to ensure a sustainable environment for future generations. OneWeb is proud to be leading in this effort and hope our actions can be a model for others in the industry.”
By partnering with Altius Space Machines, whose team includes RUAG Space USA, and Astroscale, OneWeb Satellites, the world’s first high volume satellite manufacturing facility, is helping to implement a low-cost, advanced grappling fixture across the OneWeb constellation that can support a variety of capture techniques for satellite servicing and disposal. This design is consistent with the CONFERS Recommended Design and Operational Practices for satellite servicing, including working to minimize the probability of releasing secondary debris in the course of servicing operations.
OneWeb Satellites CEO Tony Gingiss added, “OneWeb Satellites has dramatically reduced the cost and speed of satellite manufacturing, making Space far more accessible. As a result, thousands of new satellites – both our own and our competitors’ – will be launched in the coming years. From its inception, OneWeb Satellites has also committed to doing its part to ensure we help keep Space clean. Our partnership with Altius and RUAG for the grappling interface is one more concrete step in fulfilment of that commitment.”
“Altius’ goal in developing our DogTags™ grappling fixture has been to create an interface that enables safe and reliable capture of our customer’s satellites by the broadest range of capture methodologies possible. We are proud to be supplying OneWeb Satellites and OneWeb with our DogTagTM grapple fixture to help them achieve their commitment as a responsible Space partner,” Altius Space Machines CEO Jonathan Goff said.
OneWeb’s Responsible Space commitments are designed to build on and strengthen the work already being done within the Space community to address Space sustainability, and to provide a framework for best practices around which industry participants and others can engage. While OneWeb does not anticipate a need to service its satellites, we are committed to the belief that the entire Space industry bears a shared responsibility for technological innovations that protect the orbital environment. The adoption of grappling technologies helps to ensure that this frontier in mobility, communication and connectivity remains as a vital resource for the long-term.