A beam-hopping satellite launched into space by OneWeb could be a game-changer for broadband coverage.

Nicknamed ‘JoeySat’ – after a baby kangaroo – for its ability to beam-hop, the satellite will help improve broadband internet connectivity from space by adapting rapidly to changing demand from users, supporting OneWeb’s next generation satellite constellation in low Earth orbit.

Its technology will be able to switch the satellite capacity between different places on Earth up to 1,000 times per second, enabling it to provide services from managing real time surges in commercial demand, to providing broadband on planes, and responding to emergencies and natural disasters.

Taking off alongside 15 other OneWeb satellites from the Vandenberg launch pad in California on 20th May, JoeySat was developed with £52 million funding from the UK Space Agency awarded to UK satellite technology firms through the European Space Agency’s Sunrise Programme.

“OneWeb’s JoeySat will be a game-changer for satellite communications, offering the chance to improve people’s lives through reliable connectivity, whether that means better broadband services in remote places, or the ability to respond more effectively to emergency situations,” said UK Space Agency CEO Dr Paul Bate.

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The signal strength can also be rapidly deployed to 5G mini hubs connected to OneWeb communication network, to help meet wider service demands.

OneWeb, which employs around 400 people in the UK, received approximately £5m of the UK Space Agency’s investment, while SatixFy received £25m to build the digital beam-hopping and beam-steering payload – the ‘brains’ of the satellite.

Massimiliano Ladovaz, CTO at OneWeb, said: “The JoeySat reflects the spirit of innovation and collaboration in space and promises to enable OneWeb to continue enhancing the performance and capabilities of our high-speed, low-latency satellite network to areas in need.”



Charlie Bloomfield, CEO of SatixFy Space Systems, said: “SatixFy’s JoeySat payload is truly remarkable, with in-house developed ASICs, reconfigurable software, regenerative processing and digital beamforming and hopping capabilities.

“It’s a testament to our team’s skill and commitment to excellence that we were able to design, develop, and fully qualify this complete payload in just 15 months.”

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