Low Earth Orbit satellite constellation building OneWeb has received a $300 million equity investment for an 8.8% stake in the company from South Korean defense electronics and information infrastructure firm Hanwha Systems.
OneWeb has launched 254 of a planned 648 satellites that aim to provide broadband services anywhere on the globe. According to OneWeb, full deployment should be achieved in 2022, with services from the 50th parallel and above available by the end of this year.
In contrast, OneWeb’s nearest competitor, SpaceX / Elon Musk’s Starlink network already has 1,500 satellites in orbit and is operational in roughly a dozen countries.
In October of 2020, OneWeb was saved from bankruptcy by the UK Government and Bharti Global. According to the OneWeb website, the service is “enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities.”
Hanwha Systems was founded in 1978, and is the defense and air mobility unit of Hanwha Group. Direct from the company's website:
"The Hanwha Systems system division has significantly advanced the defense capabilities of South Korea’s military. The knowledge we’ve gained from working with the South Korean military and the 40+ years developing systems used globally are being used to develop advanced systems for surveillance, reconnaissance, control, communication, computer, and intelligence (C4I), naval and land. and the deal with bring, “further defense capabilities and the latest antenna technologies to OneWeb, alongside relationships to new government customers and expanded geographical reach.”
"The Government's equity stake in OneWeb not only allows the UK to capitalise on our first-mover advantage to deploy low Earth orbit technology but will put our country at the forefront of the small satellite market, which is set to rapidly expand over the years ahead," commented UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.