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OneWeb Rival SpaceX Plans To Launch 40 Satellites

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OneWeb Rival SpaceX Plans To Launch 40 Satellites

(CTN NEWS) – It seems that SpaceX will launch the first of at least two batches of satellites for internet service provider OneWeb later this week, despite an abrupt increase in unexplained delays.

OneWeb has now revealed a further 48-hour delay for SpaceX and OneWeb’s first launch, which has already missed both its original goal date of December 6 and its first declared date of November 2022.

If nothing unexpected happens, SpaceX will launch 40 broadband satellites on December 8th by (NET) 5:27 EST (22:27 UTC).

OneWeb was not at all interested in the unusual alliance between SpaceX and OneWeb, both of whom are developing and deploying sizable constellations of internet satellites in low earth orbit (LEO).

In reality, as previously detailed on Teslarati, it was only because of a slew of egregious Russian activities that rendered the two parties’ exclusive agreement too toxic to continue.

And that OneWeb decided to launch a small portion of its first-generation satellites on SpaceX rockets.

A formal $1–1.5 billion contract that committed most of OneWeb’s first satellite constellation to 21 Russian Soyuz rockets was signed in June 2015.

Roughly 16 months after Russia illegally invaded Ukraine’s Crime

Technically speaking, OneWeb’s contract was with France’s Arianespace, which deals with the Russian aerospace sector, allowing it to buy.

And launch Soyuz rockets from. a European launch site headquartered in French Guiana, South America.

But OneWeb and Arianespace nonetheless agreed to a contract that bound both parties to the presumption that Russian rockets would remain simple to buy and export indefinitely.

Caught up in the same web of European naivete that caused several significant European countries to increase their reliance on Russian natural gas following the country’s first destabilizing quasi-invasion of Ukraine.

40 OneWeb satellites

OneWeb confirmed Dec. 2 the successful encapsulation of all 40 satellites on SpaceX’s rocket. Credit: SpaceX

OneWeb and Arianespace almost got away with it.

But in February 2022, Russia intensified its eight-year campaign of limited conflict and occupation of Ukraine by launching a full-scale, no-holds-barred invasion with blatantly genocidal intentions.

Eventually, part of Europe’s response included economic sanctions, which Russia did not appreciate.

In retaliation, Russia kidnapped a group of 36 OneWeb satellites and confiscated the Soyuz rocket OneWeb had already paid for.

And destroyed any chance of completing the six or seven remaining Soyuz flights required by its Arianespace contract.

OneWeb reported that it had written off a $229 million loss due to those stolen satellites and rockets in September 2022.

OneWeb only needed the first large-scale ground invasion of a sovereign European country in decades for them to agree to launch contracts with SpaceX.

The European Space Agency and the French satellite service operator Eutelsat has signed hurried agreements that shifted multiple satellite launches from Arianespace to SpaceX in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

A record 40 of the Starlink rival’s 150 kilograms (330 lb) satellites will be launched by a Falcon 9 rocket on the inaugural OneWeb mission into low Earth orbit (LEO).

They will use their propulsion to ascend to operational orbits of about 1200 kilometers (750 mi).

The mission, OneWeb’s 15th launch since February 2019, won’t be the first since Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine; that honor went to India’s GSLV Mk-III (LVM3) rocket’s second operational launch.

According to a OneWeb executive, SpaceX will launch its 16th mission as soon as January 2023, leaving its first-generation constellation with 540 of the 648 intended satellites in orbit.

OneWeb’s contract calls for one more 36-satellite LVM3 launch, which suggests it will probably require two more Falcon 9 launches to finish its constellation.


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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