OneWeb turns to SpaceX for rocket launches - Mobile World Live

OneWeb turns to SpaceX for rocket launches

22 MAR 2022

OneWeb, a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company majority-owned by the UK government, struck a deal to have its satellites launched by US-based SpaceX after Russia’s state space corporation, Roscosmos, refused to continue launching OneWeb’s satellites earlier in March.

OneWeb was forced to scuttle its plans to launch 36 of its satellites on a Russian Soyuz rocket after Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency, demanded that the British government halt its financial backing of OneWeb, according to published reports. As a means of retaliation against the UK’s sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, Rogozin also tried to stipulate that none of OneWeb’s satellites could be used for military purposes.

OneWeb didn’t agree to any of Rogozin’s demands. Instead, OneWeb’s board voted to suspend all of its launches at Russian-owned Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in early March after Roscosmos pulled a rocket off of a launch pad that was set to orbit OneWeb’s satellites.

The first launch with SpaceX is anticipated to take place this year and will add to OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation that currently stands at 428 satellites, or 66 per cent of the fleet, all of which were launched on Soyuz rockets.

Financial terms of the deal with SpaceX weren’t released.

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Mike Robuck

Mike Robuck is the U.S. Editor at Mobile World Live. He joined the Mobile World Live staff in February of 2022. Prior to joining GSMA, he was editor of FierceTelecom and of Light Reading’s Telco Transformation microsite. He has a...

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