ARM Purification

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20 February 2019

5N Plus supplying substrates to SolAero for Airbus OneWeb Satellites

Specialty metal and chemical products firm 5N Plus Inc of Montreal, Québec, Canada says that its US-based subsidiary 5N Plus Semiconductors has been awarded a multi-year program to supply substrates to SolAero Technologies Corp of Albuquerque, NM, USA (formerly the Space Photovoltaics business of Emcore, making high-efficiency solar cells and panels) for satellite solar arrays for applications including powering a constellation of several hundred low-orbit broadband satellites being manufactured by OneWeb Satellites (a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus). This network of satellites will provide global, persistent, low-latency internet access.

Fiber-quality broadband connectivity from low-orbit satellites is an emerging market enabled by numerous rapid technological advances in satellite manufacturing, notes 5N Plus. Not only does this offer the possibility to reach an estimated 3.5 billion people under-served by existing telecom networks but it also provides a new dimension of flexibility and freedom for mobile connectivity, internet of things and M2M (machine-to-machine) applications, the firm adds.

Production of the satellite constellation will begin in 2019, with the balance of the program to be delivered by 2021. Considering the requirement to periodically replace satellites on orbit and additional constellation programs being in various stages of planning, demand from this segment of the space market is expected to grow in the coming years.

5N Plus provides purified metals such as bismuth, gallium, germanium, indium, selenium and tellurium, and also produces related II-VI semiconducting compounds such as cadmium telluride (CdTe), cadmium sulphide (CdS) and indium antimonide (InSb) as precursors for the growth of crystals for solar, LED and eco-friendly materials applications.

But in recent years 5N Plus has expanded its portfolio of specialty semiconductors to include wafer-level products based on the III-V and II-VI families of materials. These address several growth markets, including medical imaging, sensing, security, surveillance and renewable energy in both space and terrestrial applications. Last year, the firm announced that it would double the capacity of its semiconductor plant in Montreal to keep pace with growing market demands.

“The close partnership between 5N Plus and SolAero Technologies has been an essential element in transforming an ambitious plan into reality,” says 5N Plus’ president & CEO Arjang Roshan.

“OneWeb is leading the way in a transformation of the satellite telecommunications industry and relying on strong partnerships throughout the value chain to make this program successful,” says SolAero’s chairman & CEO Brad Clevenger.

See related item:

5N Plus doubles production capacity in semiconductor engineered materials

Emcore closes sale of Space Photovoltaics business to Veritas Capital affiliate for $150m

Tags:  5N Plus

Visit:  www.5nplus.com

Visit:  www.solaerotech.com

Visit:  www.onewebsatellites.com

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