Satellite broadband company OneWeb was no longer protected due to bankruptcy. Now officially owned by a consortium of the UK government and India’s Bharti Global, Neil Masterson has been appointed as the new CEO, and the former Adrián Steckel will remain as a board advisor.
OneWeb appears to be aiming to return to active satellite launches and form a constellation of 650 space objects. The next launch, as we already wrote, is scheduled for December 17. It provides for the launch of a batch of 36 satellites from the Vostochny cosmodrome into orbit on the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage. The company now has 74 satellites in low-earth orbit in three successful launches prior to filing for bankruptcy in March.
The devices have already been delivered to the cosmodrome. This launch will be the first fully commercial from Vostochny. In addition, it will also be the first launch for OneWeb by the French company Arianespace from this launch site. Roscosmos shared a short video about the delivery of satellites:
Earlier on November 2, 2020, two dispensers and auxiliary ground equipment for OneWeb spacecraft were delivered to Vostochny. From November 12 to December 1, in accordance with the technological schedule, work is underway to refuel the upper stage “Fregat”, after which it will be delivered to the assembly and test building for the assembly of the space warhead. LEO OneWeb spacecraft are designed to provide terrestrial consumers with high-speed Internet directly via satellite communications.
The acquisition of OneWeb by a British-Indian consortium was announced in July, enabling the struggling company to return to active status with $ 1 billion in equity funding. With this new deal, the British company will continue to operate primarily in the interests of the UK. The program is positioned as a basis in positioning the country as one of the leaders and innovators in the space sector.
The company also announced that its joint venture with Airbus has resumed operations in Florida and will continue to manufacture new spacecraft for future launches. Additional satellites are planned to be launched during the next year and 2022. Commercial services based on the satellite network are scheduled to begin rolling out in selected regions of the world in late 2021, with a global launch of the system scheduled for 2022.
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