OneWeb signs deal with SpaceX to get satellites into space

The UK satellite company will turn to SpaceX after the Russian space agency cancelled a launch earlier this month over the invasion of Ukraine.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

OneWeb has signed an agreement with SpaceX that will allow the UK-based satellite company to resume its launches.

The launch of three dozen OneWeb internet satellites from Russia-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad came to a halt earlier this month after the Russian space agency demanded for the company to guarantee it would not use its satellites for military purposes.

Roscosmos also said it refused to launch the satellites until the UK government sold its share in OneWeb. UK government purchased OneWeb as part of a $500 million bailout deal in 2020.

Roscosmos claimed the demands were in light of "Britain's hostile stance against Russia". It has been nearly a month since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Now with a new agreement with SpaceX in place, OneWeb is anticipated to carry out a launch some time this year. The launch of these satellites will add to OneWeb's total in-orbit constellation currently made up of 428 satellites, or 66% of the fleet.

"We thank SpaceX for their support, which reflects our shared vision for the boundless potential of space," OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson said.

"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."

The agreement is an unusual one given that SpaceX and OneWeb are current rivals in the market of using low-Earth orbit satellites to beam high-speed internet down from space.

OneWeb did not disclose, however, how many launches will be carried out with SpaceX and which rocket will be used. 


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