Hanwha Systems Invested USD 300 million… Joining the Board of Directors of the Space Company OneWeb
Hanwha Systems invests USD 300 million (approximately KRW 345 billion) in OneWeb, a global space Internet company. On the 12th, Hanwha Systems announced that it will sign an investment agreement with OneWeb and join the board of directors along with the British government, the world's third-largest mobile operator Bharti Global, the world's third-largest communications satellite company Eutelsat, and Japan's SoftBank.OneWeb to roll out a global “Space Internet” service next year... "Hanwha is a strong partner of OneWeb.”
OneWeb's main business is the “Space Internet”, which provides ultra-high-speed internet to the world by launching numerous satellites in low-earth orbit. In 2019, OneWeb successfully launched the world's first satellite for the space Internet.
So far, it has operated 254 low-orbit satellites orbiting the Earth through eight launches. On the 19th, it plans to launch 34 more satellites and next year, it will complete the space internet network with 648 satellites and roll out the global space internet service in full scale. OneWeb has also secured global frequency priority through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency that oversees satellites worldwide. The highly anticipated “space business infrastructure construction” has finally been completed.
Satellite manufacturing, launch, as well as satellite signal reception and distribution, are being carried out in partnership with world-leading companies in their respective fields.
To facilitate satellite manufacturing, a joint venture company has been established with Airbus, Europe's largest aircraft manufacturer. The rocket that will carry the satellite will work in cooperation with Arianespace and Soyuz, which have a proven track record of numerous launches. The gateway, which receives and distributes satellite signals from the ground, will be worked in cooperation with Hughes, a leading network company in the U.S., and world-renowned telecommunications companies such as Barty and Eutelsat, which are major shareholders and business partners of OneWeb, will provide space internet to users.
The market size is large enough to attract many global companies. Morgan Stanley has forecasted that the space internet market will grow to as much as USD 582 billion (about KRW 670 trillion) in 20 years.
Hanwha Systems expects to create synergies with OneWeb based on its world-class satellite and antenna technology. Chairperson Sunil Bharti Mittal at Bharti Group, OneWeb's largest shareholder, formally welcomed Hanwha Systems as a “powerful partner” in achieving our (OneWeb's) goal of connecting the world." Global investment bank UBS also encouraged both sides to actively cooperate this time, given the complementary technical capabilities of OneWeb and Hanwha Systems.Space Hub makes its global debut on the "New Space" stage.
Hanwha has officially entered the global New Space stage with this investment. It is also expected to be an opportunity for the current public sector-led space exploration (Old Space) to transition to a private sector-led space business (New Space).
As the control tower of Hanwha Group's space business, Space Hub is expected to take on an increasingly significant role. Space Hub, which was launched in March, is led by Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong-kwan Kim and was formed as a consortium of Hanwha Systems, Hanwha Aerospace, Hanwha Corporation, and Satrec Initiative, a satellite company.
OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson said, “Hanwha Systems can add top-notch satellite and antenna technology to OneWeb’s lineup,” and added, “I am pleased to have a key part in this innovative journey to connect the world through space together.”[Q&A] Q. What is the advantage of OneWeb?
A. OneWeb is the first company to launch a low-earth orbit satellite for the space internet. So far, we have successfully launched all eight rockets and put 254 satellites into orbit, which are operating normally. Moreover, world-class companies such as India's Bharti, France's Eutelsat, and Japan's SoftBank have each invested hundreds of millions of dollars in this. The consensus is that plan to provide seamless global coverage with 648 satellites of the "Space Internet Network" by next year holds high promise for business viability and reliability.Q. What roles do Hanwha Systems play on OneWeb’s Board of Directors?
A. As a member of the OneWeb board of directors, Hanwha Systems participates in all matters decided by the board. In particular, Hanwha Systems has the technological competitiveness of being a satellite and antenna technology company. We expect that Hanwha Systems will be able to actively participate in the space internet market by utilizing its accumulated development capabilities and technological prowess. Given the nature of OneWeb's business, which is to cooperate with companies worldwide to build satellite communication networks, the prospects are high for Hanwha Systems to provide satellite internet networks in Asia.Q. How do you see the specific profitability and prospects of the OneWeb business?
A. Morgan Stanley estimates the global space industry market size to be USD 1.1 trillion (KRW 1,260 trillion) in 2040. Among this, the “Space Internet” accounts for approximately half, around USD 580 billion. OneWeb will launch a global space internet service next year with its 648 satellites. It is possible to secure leadership in the critical initial space internet market for new businesses. OneWeb has a business model that collaborates with the world’s top telecommunications companies. With them, people can move from terrestrial internet to space internet without disruptions.Q. What is the Space Internet business?
A. The precise term for the “Space Internet” is low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication project. It involves deploying hundreds to thousands of satellites in low-earth orbit (500-2000 km) to provide seamless high-speed internet coverage worldwide. Because it doesn't require fiber-optic cables, the “Space Internet” can provide high-speed internet access even in remote areas such as the Arctic, jungles, or on ships and airplanes in transit across the Pacific. It is an essential technology for future technologies such as air taxis that need to send and receive signals at high altitudes and autonomous vehicles that require uninterrupted data transmission.Q. Which global companies are participating in OneWeb?
A. OneWeb is a space company created by the world's leading companies in their respective fields. Satellite manufacturing will involve a partnership with Airbus, the largest aircraft manufacturer in Europe, while the launches will involve partnerships with Soyuz and Arianespace, which have launched the most rockets worldwide. For the gateway to connect satellite communications, OneWeb is partnered with Hughes, a leading network company in the U.S. The space internet service will be provided by a consortium of leading telecommunications companies in each region, including India's Bharti, the world's third-largest mobile operator, and France's Eutelsat, the world's third-biggest satellite operator. The synergies of OneWeb will serve to minimize the uncertainty of space business and maximize stability and business performance by cooperating with companies boasting the best technological capabilities and track record.