Airbus has announced a mass-manufacturing unit for OneWeb constellation of satellites. See for example Space News' With a new satellite factory in the U.S., Airbus eyes opportunities in military space

Currently what is the state of the industry in terms of mass manufacturing of (nearly) identical spacecraft intended for constellation deployment? Are there any facilities producing for example 10 spacecraft a week? 100?

Which efforts are progressing such that there is likely to be mass-manufacturing of small satellites in the next few years?

  • $\begingroup$ Where did Airbus announce "a mass-manufacturing unit for OneWeb constellation of satellites"? Can you add a link to the announcement? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Dec 16 '18 at 8:33
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    $\begingroup$ There are plenty of articles about Airbus and OneWeb's plans, for example spacenews.com/… $\endgroup$
    – djr
    Dec 16 '18 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ Considering that SpaceX has already launched 1740 of their StarLink satellites, I'd say just that there gives one answer to this question. $\endgroup$ Sep 5 at 9:58

Planet Labs opened a new factory in September that can produce 40 of their Dove satellites per week. Doves are 3U CubeSats - you can read more about the Doves themselves here. Outside of Planet, OneWeb/Airbus, and SpaceX in the future, I am not familiar with anyone who has concrete plans to mass-manufacture satellites, though I have read of a number of constellation proposals from entities such as Darpa, Samsung and Boeing. There are also a few constellations proposed from the Chinese, but to my knowledge none of them are more than a few hundred satellites apiece. We’re still in very early days of constellations (and megaconstellations) even being considered practical, thanks to lower-cost launch such as the PSLV, Falcon 9, and Electron.


The industry paradigm has shifted significantly in the last few years. 1000+ satellites in a constellation are taken quite seriously now. This is driven mainly by lowering launch cost and the commercial opportunity of broadband internet, IoT and remote sensing.

Check out https://www.newspace.im/ by Erik Kulu for a list of satellite constellations. Many of them are routinely 100+ in size, which is quite remarkable.

At this stage of the industry, most constellations are aiming for 10-100 satellites per month. The side-effect of this is that more companies are choosing to vertically integrate their manufacturing and supply chain to have better control and lower costs over their satellite builds. This also means that we're reaching a stage of more space companies merging or being acquired.

There's intense competition between satellite builders, which is great for everyone else and makes it easier and cheaper to get to space!


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    $\begingroup$ You need to summarise the information from these sites. "Link only" answers are not helpful as they become redundant when the web pages themselves are not available. This is not a place for just bookmarks. Can you edit your answer to make it less dependent on the web links? (But of course keeping the links as citations). $\endgroup$ Sep 5 at 9:25
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks @BrianTompsett-汤莱恩, I'll keep that in mind. I've edited my answer. $\endgroup$
    – Jon
    Sep 5 at 12:10

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