OneWeb satellite internet company, currently owned by the United Kingdom and India’s Bharti Global, has suffered a new setback several times. The company has so far launched its satellites with Russian Soyuz missiles, but now it seems that it’s over.
Regarding Russia being hit with severe sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has now asked OneWeb if it wanted to continue launching its satellites with Russian help. Among the requirements are, among others, that OneWeb’s satellites not be used in military activities and that the UK may not be a partner in OneWeb.
Both requirements are considered unreasonable, which means that OneWeb’s future satellite launches appear to be in jeopardy. At the moment there is also no good direct alternative to OneWeb to use to get the amount of satellites you need to launch into space to be able to power your network.
Perhaps the best option for OneWeb today is SpaceX and their Falcon 9 rockets. Perhaps it’s not a particularly attractive alternative to OneWeb because SpaceX also operates Starlink, OneWeb’s main competitor. OneWeb has yet to comment on how their future plans will change after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week.
The idea is, or was at least, that OneWeb’s next 34 satellites will be launched into space using a Soyuz rocket on Friday. It remains to be seen if this will indeed be the case. OneWeb currently has 428 satellites in orbit around the Earth and plans to have 648 in the network’s first constellation. OneWeb had hoped, at least in the past, to start offering a commercial version of its service later this year.
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