OneWeb contracts SpaceX to launch its Internet satellites
Updated: Mar 22, 2022
Roscosmos and its Commercial arm lose western market, amid Ukraine Conflict
Today, March 21, the UK-Indian backed company OneWeb announced that it ended the deal with the Russians and signed a contract with the American SpaceX to launch its satellite internet constellation into orbit. OneWeb (also backed by SoftBank) – a rival to the Starlink system of the same SpaceX – says launches with SpaceX will begin later this year.
Russia has long played an outsized role in the space business, launching numerous missions from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. But now, the backlash against the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put that role at risk. In February, the internet company said in a statement that its board "voted to suspend all launches of Baikonur and Vostonchy ." The company was supposed to launch 36 satellites on a Soyuz rocket until Roscosmos hit it with a last-minute ultimatum.
OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson said: “We thank SpaceX for their support, which reflects our shared vision for the boundless potential of space. With these launch plans in place, we’re on track to finish building out our full fleet of satellites and deliver robust, fast, secure connectivity around the globe.”
Demand for OneWeb’s broadband connectivity services has continued to grow across telecommunications providers, aviation and maritime markets, and governments worldwide. OneWeb has activated service with its network at the 50th parallel and above, and early partners are initiating service.