Eastern Florida State College Helping Satellite Makers Take Flight at Cape Canaveral

By  //  June 6, 2019

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OneWeb Satellites and RUAG Space USA will offer apprenticeship program starting this fall

ABOVE VIDEO: Two new companies manufacturing satellites on the Space Coast are tapping into Eastern Florida State College’s expertise to help train the skilled workers needed to ramp-up production. (OneWeb Satellites video)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Two new companies manufacturing satellites on the Space Coast are tapping into Eastern Florida State College’s expertise to help train the skilled workers needed to ramp-up production.

OneWeb Satellites and RUAG Space USA will use an apprenticeship program starting this fall to send employees to the college to study Mechatronics and Engineering Technology.

Instruction will occur in the classroom with hands-on work in a new cutting-edge Mechatronics lab on the Cocoa campus.

Mechatronics is a field that marries mechanical, electrical and computing systems to support advanced manufacturing.

It is critical to the manufacture, maintenance and repair of high-tech products. In all, officials say the partnership could serve as a statewide model in how to help grow and maintain a high-tech workforce, particularly with start-ups seeking new employees.

OneWeb is using a fully digitized assembly line process to reduce costs and the production timeline as workers produce modular, customizable satellites. (EFSC image)

“Creating this project is very important,” said Kai Schmidt, OneWeb’s Director of Human Resources and Facilities.

“We have to develop our own workforce and keep them in Florida, and by working hand-in-hand with the college, we are investing in them.”

Mark Sutton, RUAG’s Production Manager, said EFSC has the know how to make the effort work, and is a reason why the company located here.

“Their involvement is huge. They’re a key partner in this,” said Sutton.

Under the plan, employees will work three days a week at the companies and spend two days a week at the college. Initially, five OneWeb employees and two RUAG employees will participate, with plans to grow the program.

When students are done, they will have earned a College Credit Certificate in Mechatronics and eventually an Associate in Science Degree in Engineering Technology.

“Creating these kinds of partnerships is something the college thrives on,” said Dr. Linda Miedema, EFSC’s Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Chief Learning Officer.

RUAG manufactures satellite components in Titusville. (EFSC image)

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