There’s more than musk looking at the OneWeb cake. Amazon is studying the assets of bankrupt satellite operator OneWeb, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, France’s Eutelsat Communications SA and Musk SpaceX are conducting due diligence on OneWeb’s assets. OneWeb, Amazon, Eutelsat and SpaceX declined to comment.
It is worth noting that it is reported that a bidder may choose to acquire OneWeb or purchase some of its assets.
For Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, taking OneWeb is a boost to his space dream.
Amazon’s Space Dream
They all grew up watching science fiction and dreaming about space in the 1960s and 1970s. Now that they have the money, they can do it all. Tech writer Ashley Vance
As tech writer Ashley Vance puts it, Bezos and Musk’s goal is no longer Earth, but space, and here we don’t talk about Musk’s space dream.
As early as 2000, Bezos founded Blue Origin, a commercial space company, with plans to fly paid passengers in the future.
Blue Origin is an aerospace airline founded by Bezos and currently employs more than 600 people. Previously, Blue Origin’s most famous project was the New Shepherd recyclable rocket and the eye-catching paid space tourism program.
But in addition to blue origins, Amazon wants to take on more of the space market. In April 2019, Amazon announced that it was accelerating the launch of a global satellite broadband service called Project Kuiper, which plans to launch 3,236 low-Earth orbit satellites to build their own satellite Internet network to add more customers worldwide.
According to space news, Amazon’s Kuiper satellite has a design life of seven years, less than half the time of a traditional geosynchronous communications satellite, and will be launched in five waves.
The first wave consists of 578 satellites that will provide Internet services in two horizontal coverage zones, one between 39 degrees north latitude and 56 degrees north (roughly north of Philadelphia to Moscow) and the other from 39 degrees south to 56 degrees south (roughly from Hastings in New Zealand to the top of the Great Britain’s South Sandwich Islands in the Atlantic). The next four waves will cover the equator.
Does the plan sound familiar?
Is this a remake of starlink’s plan?
Musk also blasted Bezos on Twitter as a “copy dog.”
Project Kuiper will be worth $100 billion, according to Morgan Stanley analysts, based on the forecast that the space economy will grow to more than $1 trillion over the next 20 years.
In other words, the commercial value behind it is very large.
Launching the satellite is a costly task in itself, with the Amazon satellite project costing about $1 million for a single satellite and about $3-4 billion in total manufacturing costs, and Amazon may invest in the future.
SpaceX can not only build its own rockets, but also reuse them, so that the cost is much lower, and Starlink’s plan is naturally something to look forward to. Bezos’ Project Kuiper doesn’t have the technical support, so the cost will be higher.
So if Amazon can buy SpaceX’s former rival, OneWeb, it would be a more competitive rival for Musk.
How much business value is left for OneWeb?
So what is the business value of OneWeb after bankruptcy?
OneWeb has long been seen as musk’s space X rival as the only two companies to have officially deployed low-orbit communications satellites in bulk. As originally envisaged, OneWeb planned to operate at least 650 satellites to make its broadband service global, and so far the OneWeb Internet Constellation project has 74 satellites in orbit.
But the economic crisis caused by the outbreak has disrupted OneWeb’s plans. On March 27, local time, OneWeb and some of its subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of the “economic consequences of new crown pneumonia.” OneWeb said in a statement that it had been forced to lay off staff and would seek authorization through bankruptcy protection to sell the company’s business.
The 74 satellites that have been launched, although yet not yet completed, are one of the company’s most valuable assets. To know that a satellite launched, in research and development, production, launch links need to invest financial resources. If a company uses these satellite revenues at this point, you’ll save a fee.
In addition, in addition to satellite assets in orbit, frequency-band orbital resources are also very attractive.
At present, the orbital resources in international rules are mainly allocated on a “first come, first served” basis, and the filer cannot interfere with the satellites of the first-declared country, and the filer must also launch the satellite to activate the declared resources within a period of time after the declaration of the resources, otherwise the scheduled resources will be invalidated.
Moreover, there is a difference between low-orbit satellites and geostationary-orbiting satellites, which are present in single ones, which require networking to provide communications services. When the life of a geostationary orbit satellite ends, it will use its final force to rise by more than 200 kilometers and enter the “grave orbit” to complete “self-destruction” to give way to its original orbit. The low-orbit constellation is made up of a number of small satellites, and when some satellites are unable to work, the company can launch new satellites to make up the network, not to give up the entire resources to other homes.
And oneWeb-launched satellites have undoubtedly taken up a portion of orbital resources, which can also be a valuable asset for dockingrs. And OneWeb has previously acquired band resources through acquisitions, and in June 2014 WorldVu acquired satellite band resources from the bankrupt SkyBridge. As OneWeb acquired WorldVu, it also owns some of the Ku-band resources officially authorized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
So, for Amazon, the acquisition of OneWeb is very attractive.
Notably, NASA on Thursday awarded space companies, including Musk and Bezos, a nearly $1 billion contract to develop a lunar manned lander.
And it means that musk’s and Bezos’s rivalry will be even more intense in the future, and taking over the OneWeb is just the beginning.