OneWeb Suspends Satellite Launches From Baikonur

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Friday launch of 36 OneWeb broadband satellites aboard a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome is officially canceled as the London-based company refused demands from the Russian government amid growing international tensions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The Board of OneWeb has voted to suspend all launches from Baikonur,” the company said in a one-sentence statement.

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Russia Holds OneWeb Satellites Hostage; No Launch Unless Company & British Government Meet Demands

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In what is likely the first hostage drama involving communication satellites, the head of the Russian space program has demanded that the British government divest its shares in OneWeb and that the broadband satellite operator not provide services to foreign militaries in order to launch a new batch of spacecraft. The move comes amid growing tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country by western nations.

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that unless these demands are met, Russia will refuse to launch 36 OneWeb satellites that sit atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket currently on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch is scheduled for Saturday morning Moscow time.

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OneWeb Secures $550 Million as Eutelsat Takes Significant Equity Stake in Satellite Broadband Company

  • Eutelsat investment brings OneWeb to $1.9 billion in total financing
  • Secures 80% of total financing, as latest launch puts almost 30% of Gen 1 fleet in space
  • Collaboration with Geostationary (GEO) satellite operator offers new customer opportunities
  • Eutelsat joins U.K. Government, Bharti Global and SoftBank as key investors

LONDON, 27 April 2021 (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, the global communications network powered from space, announces today that it has secured $550 million in funding from Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL), bringing OneWeb’s total funding to $1.9 billion in fresh equity. This investment from one of the world’s most experienced and largest global operators is a vote of confidence in OneWeb and underscores the arrival of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites into mainstream long-term growth planning for major operators.

Eutelsat, one of the world’s leading satellite operators, will receive a c.24% equity stake in OneWeb and similar governance rights to the U.K. Government and Bharti Global, making it a significant equity partner and joining leading investors including the U.K. Government, Bharti Global and SoftBank. The investment is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

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OneWeb Demonstrates Network Capabilities to U.S. Government

MELBOURNE, Fla. (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, the global communications company, powered from Space successfully demonstrated its turnkey satellite-based communications system to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) on March 2nd.

The event, which was conducted in front of service representatives from the US Space Command at OneWeb’s demonstration facility in Melbourne, Florida, represents the first time the solution has been demonstrated to the U.S. Government.

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OneWeb Appoints Srikanth Balachandran as Chief Financial Officer

  • Bharti Airtel highly experienced CFO moves to OneWeb
  • An active team member in the acquisition and subsequent emergence from Chapter 11
  • Continuity assured for OneWeb

LONDON, 19 February 2021 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network owned by UK Government, Bharti Global and other strategic investors, announces the appointment of Srikanth Balachandran as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Srikanth joins from Bharti Global, where he was CFO since Oct 2018 and prior to that, was CFO of Bharti Airtel for seven years. Under his financial stewardship, Airtel engaged in some intense M&A, grew its customer base five-fold to become the world’s No.3 mobile operator in subscriber numbers and expanded its operations to 18 countries. He was closely associated with Airtel’s successful launch and scaling up of the Satellite TV business in India and the rapid expansion of Airtel’s Global Business across the globe.

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Constellationizing Space: Chinese Company Seeks Approval to Launch Nearly 13,000 Satellites

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Larry Press reports a Chinese company named GW has filed for spectrum allocation from the International Telecommunication Union for two broadband constellations called GW-A59 and GW-2 that would include 12,992 satellites.

The size of GW’s request indicates to Press that the company would compete globally with broadband constellations being built by SpaceX, OneWeb and Amazon. He wrote:

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Court Approves Sale of OneWeb to UK Government and Bharti Global

OneWeb resumes operations – on-track to emerge under new ownership by end of year

London, UK, Friday, 2 October 2020 – OneWeb, the communications company building a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to deliver global connectivity, has achieved a major step in its reorganisation process. On 2 October 2020, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York confirmed OneWeb’s Chapter 11 plan of reorganisation (the “Plan”), ensuring that the company remains on target to resume full business operations imminently.

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Virgin Orbit Continues to Seek $46.3 Million from OneWeb

LauncherOne operated in powered flight for only seconds before an anomaly shut it down after being dropped from the Cosmic Girl Boeing 747. (Credit; Virgin Orbit)

With OneWeb having emerged from bankruptcy, the satellite broadband company new owners, Bharti Global and the British government, have had to deal with creditors.

Virgin Orbit is one of them. Richard Branson’s launch provider is still trying to collect $46.3 million the company feels it is owned from a deal gone bad.

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OneWeb Gets FCC Approval for Additional 1,280 Satellites

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Satellite broadband provider OneWeb received FCC approval this week to launch an additional 1,280 satellites, increasing the size of the company’s constellation to 2,000 spacecraft.

The additional satellites will provide services in the V-band and operate at an altitude of 8,500 km (5,282 miles).

“After review of the record, we conclude that granting OneWeb access to the U.S. market for its proposed V-band satellite system would increase competition for the broadband services proposed to be provided by such systems to American consumers, particularly in underserved areas, offer a greater likelihood that such a large system is able to fulfill its ambitions and deploy the proposed services, and thereby serve the public interest, subject to the requirements and conditions specified herein,” the FCC said.

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U.S. Bankruptcy Court Approves OneWeb Sale

The sale of bankrupt satellite maker OneWeb to the UK government and Bharti Global Ltd of India was approved by the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday.

The partners bid more than $1 billion for the assets of the company, which was launching a satellite constellation to provide high-speed broadband services around the world.

“The parties will work to complete the plan sale process, including filing our plan and disclosure statements with the court, conducting voting with our creditors, and seeking regulatory approval and completing customary closing conditions, and expect the process to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020,” OneWeb said in a statement.

Before it declared bankruptcy in March, OneWeb had 74 of 648 satellites planned for the company’s initial constellation.

UK Government to Acquire Bankrupt OneWeb

LONDON (UK Government PR) — The government has today (3 July) led a successful bid to acquire OneWeb, which develops cutting-edge satellite technology in the UK and in the US.

The move signals the government’s ambition for the UK to be a pioneer in the research, development, manufacturing, and exploitation of novel satellite technologies through the ownership of a fleet of Low Earth orbit satellites.

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Bankrupt OneWeb Acquired by Consortium Led by UK Govt, Bharti Global

OneWeb satellite (Credit: OneWeb)
  • A consortium of Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited have committed to provide more than USD$1 billion to acquire OneWeb and fund the full restart of its business operations.
  • OneWeb will look to resume operations as soon as possible and continue with progress towards providing global high-speed, low latency connectivity via its state-of-the-art satellite constellation.
  • Agreement remains subject to approval by OneWeb’s creditors, the Bankruptcy Court, and applicable regulators, with completion expected by the fourth quarter of 2020.

LONDON, July 3, 2020 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, the communications company whose mission is to bring connectivity to governments, businesses, and people everywhere, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with a consortium led by HMG  (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited (“Bharti”) for the acquisition of the OneWeb business in connection with its court-supervised sale process. The bid is designed to capitalise the company sufficiently as a going concern to effectuate the full end-to-end deployment of the OneWeb system.

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