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Ontic acquires instruments product line from Flightline Electronics

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Ontic acquires instruments product line from Flightline Electronics

Ontic, the aerospace industry’s provider of ‘Extended Life Solutions’ for OEM legacy products, has acquired the manufacturing rights for four types of aircraft instruments from Flightline Electronics Inc, a subsidiary of Ultra Electronics.

The electromechanical and digital instruments are used on various commercial and military platforms, with supply into leading aircraft manufacturers and operators. The instruments will be manufactured in Ontic’s North Carolina facility.

“We are very pleased to have completed this deal and look forward to fully transitioning the manufacture and repair capability over the coming weeks,” stated Gareth Blackbird, vice-president and chief commercial officer of Ontic. “This product line fits extremely well with our North Carolina facility and we look forward to providing long term support and the supply of cockpit instruments to the extensive customer base.”

Ontic’s global legacy focus is supported by manufacturing and MRO facilities in Chatsworth, California; Creedmoor, North Carolina; Plainview, New York; Cheltenham in the UK and in Singapore.

www.ontic.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/ontic-acquires-instruments-product-line-from-flightline-electronics/

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OneWeb has now raised $1.4B, with $400M from SoftBank and Hughes, to help fund its first satellite fleet

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After a troubled year that saw broadband satellite operator OneWeb file for bankruptcy, get rescue finance from the UK government and Bharti, and then emerge out of that with a launch of part of its fleet last month, the London-based company today announced that it’s closed $1.4 billion in funding — money that it says will be enough to (finally) get the rest of its first-generation fleet of 648 satellites off the ground.

The 36 new satellites OneWeb launched in December brought the total number in orbit to 110 satellites. This means there are still more than 500 left to launch in the first generation.

The company is continuing to whittle down its ambitions. Earlier this week, OneWeb announced that it had “streamlined its constellation” and as a result was reducing the request it was making to the U.S. regulators for licenses. Originally OneWeb had applied to the FCC for market access for 47,884 satellites; now the figure is down to 6,372.

SoftBank Group Corp. and Hughes Network Systems are providing the financing, the company said. The news comes about a month after OneWeb launched 36 satellites, its third launch to put more of its fleet into orbit. At the time, its executive chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said that it was on track to raise $400 million — so this represents a more-than threefold increase on that amount. This appears to confirm that.

“OneWeb’s mission is to connect everyone, everywhere. We have made rapid progress to re-start the business since emerging from Chapter 11 in November,” said Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, in a statement. “We welcome the investments by SoftBank and Hughes as further proof of progress towards delivering our goal.”

A spokesperson for the company has confirmed to me that the company is not disclosing its valuation. Adding in this round, it looks like the company has raised around $4.5 billion to date, although the bankruptcy meant a significant recapitalization and revaluation of the business and that figure includes funding from before it was restructured.

SoftBank and Hughes are both past backers and partners in OneWeb, so this is something of an insurance policy to make sure that its previous investment doesn’t go completely to waste. (At least some of it has already been written down: SoftBank years ago posted an eye-watering loss of $24 billion due in part to that OneWeb bet.)

Hughes, meanwhile, invests via its parent company EchoStar and inked a deal with the company way back in 2017 to build the terrestrial infrastructure that would work with OneWeb’s satellites. Deals, building and rollouts in the world of satellite technology play out over a number of years, and often face delays, so being three years out — or even more — on seeing any fruits from that deal is not hugely surprising.

OneWeb acknowledged the long-time connection between the investors and confirmed that the ground network is still being built by Hughes.

“We are delighted to welcome the investment from SoftBank and Hughes. Both are deeply familiar with our business, share our vision for the future, and their commitment allows us to capitalise on the significant growth opportunity ahead for OneWeb,” said Mittal in a statement. “We gain from their experience and capabilities, as we deliver a unique LEO network for the world.”

Originally, Hughes had planned for the first services to start running in 2019 — although that was when OneWeb and its fleet of LEO (low-earth orbit) satellites was still a very shiny idea, backed by $1.7 billion in venture funding.

The company’s original idea was always great but (no pun intended) also something of a moonshot: LEO satellites have already been proven to be a strong and useful complement to terrestrial networks for providing broadband connectivity to more remote areas that couldn’t be reached in other ways. The idea with OneWeb was to make that service something useful and used by a much bigger group of on-the-ground users, with the promise being 400Mbps for everyone.

While broadband usage has certainly exploded in the interim, what OneWeb perhaps didn’t bank on was that those building non-satellite systems for providing connectivity would also be progressing in their network advances; nor how long it might take, or the financing needed, to get its fleet off the ground on the timelines it was promising.

These days, OneWeb says that growing ubiquity of 5G, Internet of Things and connectivity needs overall still present a strong use case for its approach — which it says “includes a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals for different customer markets capable of delivering affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications services.”

Secretary of State, BEIS, The Rt. Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng, said in a statement: “Our investment in OneWeb is part of our continued commitment to the UK’s space sector, putting Britain at the forefront of the latest technological advances. Today’s investment brings the company one step closer to delivering its mission to provide global broadband connectivity for people, businesses and governments, while potentially unlocking new research, development and manufacturing opportunities in the UK.”

SoftBank is getting a seat on OneWeb’s board with this deal.

“We are excited to support OneWeb as it increases capacity and accelerates towards commercialisation,” said Masayoshi Son, Representative Director, Corporate Officer, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank, in a statement. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Bharti, the UK Government and Hughes to help OneWeb deliver on its mission to transform internet access around the world.”

Pradman Kaul, President of Hughes, added: “OneWeb continues to inspire the industry and attract the best players in the business to come together to bring its LEO constellation to fruition. The investments made today by Hughes and SoftBank will help realise the full potential of OneWeb in connecting enterprise, government and mobility customers, especially with multi-transport services that complement our own geostationary offerings in meeting and accelerating demand for broadband around the world.”

Updated to clarify that the $1.4 billion includes $400 million announced today, plus previous funding.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/01/15/oneweb-picks-up-1-4b-more-from-softbank-and-hughes-to-help-fund-its-first-satellite-fleet/

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Skyrora reveals new UK-built vehicle in live test

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Skyrora reveals new UK-built vehicle in live test

The Skyrora test and flight operations team has performed one of their most important test campaigns to date, a full upper stage static fire test, at their engine development complex in Fife, Scotland.

This historic event represents yet another significant milestone in the Edinburgh-based rocket manufacturer’s development plan.

The company unveiled its latest technical accomplishment with a full mission duration static fire test (450 second burn over three firings) of the upper stage of its orbital-class vehicle, Skyrora XL. The test involved a fully-integrated setup of the engine, feed systems, avionics, and the software.

This third stage vehicle has capabilities way beyond just transporting its payload into orbit. It is a full mission-ready Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV) that can perform a number of in-space missions once it has delivered its payload including the replacement of redundant satellites or even the removal of space debris.

Skyrora CEO, Volodymyr Levykin, said: “Our goal was always to be mission ready once all the regulations and permissions were in place, and this development not only brings us closer to that point but also takes us beyond simply launch readiness. We have been deliberately quiet about this aspect of our Skyrora XL launch vehicle as we had technical challenges to get it to this stage and we wanted to ensure all tests had a satisfactory outcome, which they now have.”

This sort of vehicle is a crucial development in Skyrora’s aim to maximise the UK’s space activities, giving the country the ability to remove space junk, launch earth monitoring satellites and maintain existing in-orbit satellites, with a minimum number of launches.

With several missions being achieved by one single rocket launch, Skyrora optimise each launch while minimising any impact on the local environment. This is coupled with the use of eco-friendly fuel, Ecosene, powering the vehicle to ensure the UK has the most environmentally friendly space industry in the world.

The Skyrora XL upper stage is powered by a 3D printed 3.5kN liquid engine with multiple ignition capability. Orientation control is provided by engine gimballing and cold gas thrusters. The main structure and tanks are manufactured from carbon fibre making it extremely light and therefore reducing the quantity of fuel required during its journey

www.skyrora.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/skyrora-reveals-new-uk-built-vehicle-in-live-test/

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ATI Boeing Accelerator announces startups joining second cohort

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ATI Boeing Accelerator announces startups joining second cohort

The latest startups to join the ATI Boeing Accelerator have been announced with 10 companies joining the programme.

The startups for the second cohort were selected from nearly 200 applications, from more than 40 countries and range from Hull to Queensland, and the US to Germany. Providing solutions for the aerospace industry such as software to support inflight medical events and emergencies and behavioural science technologies to reduce airlines’ greenhouse gas emissions.

To date, the nine companies that have been a part of the ATI Boeing Accelerator’s first cohort have raised over £8 million, created more than 60 jobs, and received £1.2m in grant funding in the final quarter of 2020. They have gone on to partner with businesses including Rolls-Royce and Chevron Technology Ventures. Most recently, Intellegens, part of the first cohort to join the programme, has announced it is leading a new project in partnership with Boeing and the University of Sheffield, applying its machine learning technology to make the additive manufacturing (AM) process of metallic alloys for aerospace cheaper and faster, to support net-zero targets for aviation.

The accelerator was created in partnership by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Boeing and is delivered by European accelerator Ignite. GKN Aerospace is the programme’s corporate sponsor and Rolls-Royce recently joined as a programme partner. The first cohort was in person in London and concluded just as Covid-related travel restrictions were beginning. The second cohort will be virtual.

Of the almost 200 applications, 90 per cent of the businesses applying were focussed on Industry 4.0 technologies and products, while 10% were providing sustainability-focussed solutions. 44% of the applicants were from outside the aerospace industry, 26% of the founders were female, 42% were minority-founded, and 33% were first-time founders.

Gabriela Matic, programme director of ATI Boeing Accelerator (pictured), said: “The quality of applications for our second cohort was exceptional and we’re delighted to welcome our 10 new startups to join the programme. Like everyone, we’ve had to adapt our ways of working due to the pandemic and we noticed an increase in the number of companies applying from outside the UK as virtual programming becomes more common due to restricted travel. This period in time also presents a great opportunity for startups, and for our partners in aerospace, to work together and solve industry problems.”

The startups benefit from a possible £100,000 equity investment from Boeing HorizonX Global Ventures and access to ATI, Boeing, GKN Aerospace and Rolls-Royce strategists and technical experts. Mentoring is available from a global network of experienced entrepreneurs, mentors and investors, and introductions will be made to the programme’s network of angel investors, venture capital firms and the wider aerospace industry.

The 10 startups joining the programme in January include:

Ai Build (London) Has developed an AI-powered software platform that delivers the world’s fastest and most reliable large-scale additive manufacturing

AireXpert (Buffalo & Minneapolis) Enables real-time collaboration tools for airlines and other aircraft operators to reduce delays, lower labour and operating costs, and reduce compliance risk

Datch (San Francisco) An intelligent voice AI for industry, enabling frontline workers to capture system information using voice in real-time and intelligently integrating into company databases

HiiROC (Hull) Unique and innovative plasma technology enables a low cost and low emission process for synthetic fuel and hydrogen generation

Makersite (Munich), A cloud-based product management platform that uses artificial intelligence and graph technologies to understand and improve products from the perspective of their regulatory compliance, environmental impact, supply risk and cost of production

MIME Technologies (Edinburgh & Inverness), Remote medical software to support inflight medical events and emergencies, specifically designed for altitude

Phycobloom (London) Using synthetic biology to reduce the cost of algae biofuels by forcing them to secrete their oil where it can be cheaply collected

Productive Machines (Sheffield, UK), Delivers software that maximises sustainability of machining processes by reducing costs, eliminating waste and improving productivity

SensaWeb (Queensland), Real-time radiation monitoring solution

Signol (London), The world’s first software to use behavioural science to reduce airlines’ greenhouse gas emissions and increase profits and job satisfaction

The second cohort comes from three continents, 40% are female and minority ethnic founded, 40% are first-time founders, 40% are from outside the aerospace industry and 20% are re-applicants. Six of the startups are sustainability-based, two are focused on Industry 4.0 and two are focused on energy. Collectively they have raised nearly £13m to date, with 20% at the pre-seed stage (bootstrapped or grant-funded), 40% at seed stage and 30% beyond the seed stage.

Brian Schettler, Boeing HorizonX Global Ventures, senior managing director, commented: “We’re thrilled to be leading this programme again with ATI, especially given the focus on sustainability. Boeing is committed to developing innovative technologies and solutions that allow for safe and sustainable air travel for generations to come but it takes partnerships and collaboration like this to be successful. Given the success of the first cohort, I’m confident that we will again work together with these startups and program partners to address our industry’s most critical issues.”

Gary Elliott, chief executive of the Aerospace Technology Institute, added: “The ATI are very excited to welcome ten innovative startups to the second cohort of the ATI Boeing Accelerator. This year’s programme will be in a different environment to last year’s. We have moved most of our content to the virtual world and we’ll be making connections digitally rather than in person. We’re also pleased to be joined by Rolls-Royce, who will provide an excellent team of mentors and experts alongside our existing programme sponsors – Boeing and GKN Aerospace.

“Despite the challenges that the sector continues to face, we must continue to find areas of innovation and growth as the world slowly but surely recovers from the pandemic. This accelerator programme is an opportunity to bring innovators, investors, experts and entrepreneurs together in the same (virtual) space. Good luck to each of the ten startups in this year’s cohort and we look forward to working with you in the coming months.”

www.atiboeingaccelerator.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/ati-boeing-accelerator-announces-startups-joining-second-cohort/

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New dates announced for TCT 3Sixty

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New dates announced for TCT 3Sixty

Rapid News has rescheduled this year’s TCT 3Sixty event to 28–30 September 2021 to enable the industry to plan for the next period with confidence.

The show organisers say their number one duty to the industry is to deliver a substantial and engaged audience. To ensure this, the event must first be demonstrably safe and secure, which means that the UK and worldwide vaccine programmes must be given enough time to have their maximum effect.

TCT 3Sixty is committed to safeguarding everyone’s health and wellbeing, as well as ensuring any investment in the show delivers a significant positive return. A September dateline offers a better route to achieving and exceeding these aims for everyone.

The organisers also anticipate that the locks on international travel will be lifted in time for the new dates enabling TCT 3Sixty’s important overseas exhibitors to take their place on the show floor and ensuring that the event remains a true reflection of the global nature of the industry.

The decision to reschedule the event has been made with support and input from stakeholders across the industry, including exhibitors, partners and relevant authorities.

TCT 3Sixty will be held at the NEC, Birmingham, and at the same time as Interplas as originally planned. It will also now run alongside Med-Tech Innovation Expo.

www.tct3sixty.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/new-dates-announced-for-tct-3sixty/

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