OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson has announced a deal with SpaceX. It will allow the remaining part of the system to be deployed for the distribution of global satellite Internet.
OneWeb was founded in 2012. Its main objective is to create a group of 648 satellites designed to distribute broadband global Internet. They were launched into orbit by Soyuz rockets, which were launched mainly from the Baikonur and Vostochny cosmodromes.
After the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the head of the Russian state corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin issued an ultimatum. He demanded guarantees of the non-use of OneWeb satellites for military purposes and the withdrawal of the UK from the company’s shareholders. After that, the management of OneWeb ordered its employees to leave the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where preparations for the next launch were underway. The satellites that remained at the spaceport were captured by Russia, their fate is still unknown.
OneWeb satellite constellation
As of March 2022, OneWeb has deployed 66% of its constellation (428 devices). The remaining satellites were planned to be delivered into orbit by six consequent Soyuz launches. The termination of the contract with Roscosmos put the company in a difficult position, and many observers have already predicted the demise of the project. But help came from the most unexpected source. SpaceX, a company that builds a competitive satellite Internet system, has agreed to take over the further development of the satellite system. It has been announced that the first launch will take place as soon as this year.
In his statement, Neil Masterson thanked SpaceX for its support and the fact that Elon Musk shares OneWeb’s views on the use of space potential. However, he did not disclose the terms of the agreement with SpaceX, citing confidentiality.
We would also remind, that SpaceX also recently received a contract from NASA to launch three manned missions to the ISS.According to https://oneweb.net