technology

OneWeb turns to SpaceX to launch its satellites following Russian ban

OneWeb turns to SpaceX to launch its satellites following Russian ban
OneWeb turns to SpaceX to launch its satellites following Russian ban

OneWeb, the satellite firm partly owned and backed by the British state, has reportedly planned to use rockets from SpaceX, the rival American aerospace manufacturer owned by Elon Musk, after the company was effectively barred from utilizing Russian-made rockets to put its new orbiters in space.

Under the terms of the agreement, the communications company will work with SpaceX to launch its first microsatellites later this year, further adding to the 428 microsatellites that are already present in low-Earth orbit.

The parameters of the launch agreement between OneWeb and SpaceX have not been disclosed yet.

However, the later has quoted the standard price of launching a Falcon 9 rocket at $67 million, up from $62 million earlier this year. SpaceX says this is to account for the extremely high levels of inflation. The 12% increase in process is the first in over six years.

OneWeb was forced to cancel its scheduled launch on one of the Russian-made Soyuz rockets earlier in the month after Dmitry Rogozin, chief of the Russian space agency ordered that the satellites not be used for military use, and the UK government halted its financial support.

Considering the UK government's major involvement in OneWeb, Darren Jones, business committee head, House of Commons, stated that it was unacceptable for the company to launch from a launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome owned by the Russians in Kazakhstan after the invasion of Ukraine.

In July 2020, the UK government invested £400 million in OneWeb to save the company from insolvency after it failed to acquire funds in March of that year to keep building up its projected fleet of 650 satellites.

The latest launch partnership comes with its own set of complications. SpaceX and OneWeb are strong competitors, each trying to build a multinational satellite broadband network capable of providing high-speed internet access anywhere on the planet. Starlink, SpaceX's service, is delivered through a network of 2,112 satellites in orbit.

Source credit: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/mar/21/uk-backed-oneweb-to-use-rival-spacex-rockets-after-russian-ban

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Meghna Singh

An English Literature graduate, Meghna Singh ventured into the profession of content development to incorporate her knack for writing articles across verticals including technology, healthcare, business, and alike for News Origins and RunningAfrica. She has also completed her MBA in Tourism and worked as a content creator in the field of product development.