U.S., French export-credit agencies’ role in OneWeb remains questionable

(Space News, Vermont, 14 September 2016) The OneWeb constellation, with a total of 900 low orbiting satellites whose capital cost has been estimated at around $3.5 billion including ground spares, is seeking export-credit agency support. But the U.S. Export-Import Bank remains on the sidelines for large projects, at least for now, and how far France's Coface can go in backing what's essentially a U.S.-based satellite manufacturing operation is unclear. All but 10 of the approximately 900 satellites, including spares, to be built for the project will be manufactured in Florida by OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture of Airbus Defence and Space and OneWeb. Ten prototype satellites will be built at Airbus’s Toulouse, France, facility. It remains unclear how much Airbus- or French-sourced hardware for the balance of the constellation will be shipped to Florida.