SpaceX Get Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations in USA

60 Starlink satellites begin to separate after deployment from the Falcon 9 second stage. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted SpaceX to deploy up to one million ground stations to connect users to its Starlink satellite broadband service.

Each ground station is just under 19 inches (.48 m) across.

“It looks like a UFO on a stick,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said earlier this month. “It’s very important that you don’t need a specialist to install. The goal is for … just two instructions and they can be done in either order: Point at sky, plug in.”

SpaceX has launched 362 Starlink satellites as part of a constellation that could eventually total 42,000. The FCC has given Musk’s company approval to launch nearly 12,000 spacecraft. The company has submitted paperwork to place another 30,000 into orbit.

SpaceX plans to launch additional groups of 60 satellites roughly every two weeks aboard Falcon 9 boosters. The company hopes to begin service in the United States later this year.

Musk has said Starlink satellites will be able to deliver high-speed broadband service with latency below 20 milliseconds.

Bankrupt OneWeb Owes Arianespace Nearly a Quarter Billion Dollars

OneWeb listed Arianespace as its top creditor with $238,137,447.58 in unsecured debt in a bankruptcy filing on Friday.

The French company is far ahead of the other 29 top unsecured creditors listed in the filing. Other companies in the top 10 include:

  • Qualcomm Technologies: $8,000,000.00
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd: $6,861,336.01
  • Hughes Network Systems: $5,352,750.51
  • Deutsche Bank: $5,200,734.82
  • Wipro Ltd.: $2,470,647.25
  • Willis Towers Watson PLC: $1,899,895.09
  • Viasat: $1,225,000.00
  • Nokia Corporation: $988,051.09
  • Redapt, Inc.: 662,275.85.

Arianespace released a brief statement on the bankruptcy:

Arianespace is aware of the Chapter 11 filing by several OneWeb companies in US Bankruptcy Court in the state of New York (USA) on March 27, 2020.

As Arianespace is in a contractual relationship with OneWeb, the company was consequently listed among the creditors in the document filed on March 27.

Arianespace will monitor the progress of this procedure in accordance with its rights and commitments, and has no further comment to make at this time.

In its filing, OneWeb said it has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors. The company estimated its liabilities and assets at between $1 billion and $10 billion apiece.

OneWeb has laid off all but a small number of employees who are overseeing operations of its 74 satellites. The company was building a constellation of satellites to provide global broadband services.

OneWeb Files for Chapter 11 Restructuring to Execute Sale Process

LONDON, UK, March 27, 2020 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb (“OneWeb,” “the Company”), the global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, announced today that the Company and certain of its controlled affiliates have voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The Company intends to use these proceedings to pursue a sale of its business in order to maximize the value of the company.

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Report: OneWeb to File for Bankruptcy

The Financial Times reports that OneWeb is preparing to file for bankruptcy and lay off most of its employees after failing to obtain additional financing from investors to continue building out its satellite broadband constellation.

OneWeb collapses after SoftBank funding talks fall through

The story is behind a paywall, so I don’t have a lot of details at this point. OneWeb will apparently keep a small team in place to operate the 74 satellites the company has launched into orbit while it seeks addition funding needed to emerge from bankruptcy.

Attempts to obtain additional funding from the company’s main backer, SoftBank, fell through.

The news comes less than a week after a Russian Soyuz booster launched 34 OneWeb satellites. Two previous launches in February 2019 and February 2020 had orbited 6 and 34 spacecraft, respectively.

OneWeb, which was founded by Greg Wyler, has been planning to launch 680 satellites in order to provide broadband services to any location on Earth.

The company’s main competitor is SpaceX, which has launched 362 satellites as part of its Starlink constellation. SpaceX has received approvals to launch nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites. Elon Musk’s company has also submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission to launch an additional 30,000 spacecraft to bring the total to 42,000.

OneWeb Successfully Launches 34 More Satellites in Second Launch of 2020

LONDON, March 21, 2020 (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, announced today the successful launch of 34 more satellites, aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Lift-off occurred on March 21st at 17:06 UTC. OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches with signal acquisition anticipated in the coming hours.

This is the second of its 34 satellite launches in six weeks, an achievement made possible by the pace and execution of OneWeb Satellites’ high-volume production factory in Florida. This launch brings the total number of satellites in the constellation to 74, further solidifying OneWeb’s position as a leading global communications company.

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Report: OneWeb Considering Bankruptcy

Well, this doesn’t sound good.

OneWeb, the satellite operator backed by SoftBank Group Corp., is mulling a possible bankruptcy filing to address a cash crunch as it grapples with high costs and stiff competition, according to people with knowledge of the preparations.

The company is considering seeking court protection even as it continues to review possible out-of-court alternatives, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private company plans.

OneWeb would be among the first SoftBank-backed companies to file for bankruptcy. A spokeswoman for SoftBank, which is OneWeb’s largest investor, declined to comment.

A spokesperson for OneWeb declined to comment.

So, OneWeb could become NoneWeb.

Read the full story at Bloomberg.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches 60 Starlink Satellites in Fifth Use of First Stage

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a first stage being flown for a record fifth time launched 60 Starlink broadband Internet satellites into orbit on Wednesday morning from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Falcon 9 suffered the loss of one of its nine Merlin 1D engines at 2 minutes 22 seconds into the flight. The failure, which occurred 10 seconds before first stage shutdown, did not affect the deployment of the 60 satellites following successful shutdown of the second stage.

However, the engine failure could have been a factor in the failure to land the booster on an offshore drone ship. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that a full investigation was required prior to the next Falcon 9 launch.

The payload fairing was previously flown during the launch of Starlink satellites in May 2019.

SpaceX has now launched 362 Starlink spacecraft, which are intended to provide broadband Internet services around the globe. The Starlink constellation will eventually include nearly 12,000 satellites. SpaceX has also applied for approval to raise that total by 30,000 to 42,000 satellites.

OneWeb Confirms Third Launch; Flight Dedicated to the Late Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov

Mission Overview

  • OneWeb’s third launch and second of 2020 is scheduled for March 21st from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
  • Arianespace will launch 34 OneWeb satellites, bringing the OneWeb constellation to 74 satellites.
  • OneWeb’s launch theme will commemorate the late Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who became the first person to walk in space 55 years ago this month.

LONDON, March 17, 2020 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, confirmed its next launch will take place on Saturday, March 21st at 17:06 (GMT) / 1:06 PM (EDT) / 22:06 (local time) from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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SpaceX Targets Sunday Morning for Sixth Starlink Launch

60 Starlink satellites inside the Falcon 9 payload fairing. (Credit: Elon Musk)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Sunday, March 15 at 9:22 a.m. EDT, or 13:22 UTC, for its sixth launch of Starlink satellites, which will lift off from Launch Complex (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This mission marks the first time SpaceX will attempt to refly a first stage for the fifth time. Falcon 9’s first stage supported the Iridium-7 NEXT mission in July 2018, the SAOCOM 1A mission in October 2018, the Nusantara Satu mission in February 2019, and the second launch of Starlink in November 2019. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX is also flying a recovered fairing on this mission; Falcon 9’s fairing previously supported the first launch of Starlink in May 2019 (pictured below). Approximately 45 minutes after liftoff, SpaceX’s fairing recovery vessels, “Ms. Tree” and “Ms. Chief,” will attempt to recover the two fairing halves.

SpaceX’s live launch coverage will begin about 15 minutes before liftoff. To watch the webcast or to learn more about the mission, visit  spacex.com/webcast.

Intellian Signs Production Contract to Build Range of OneWeb User Terminals

OneWeb satellite (Credit: OneWeb)

LONDON, 9 March 2020 (OneWeb PR) – Intellian, the global leader in mobile satellite communication antenna systems, has signed a contract with OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, to manufacture User Terminals for use on the OneWeb Network.

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Hughes, OneWeb Announce Global Distribution Partnership for LEO Satellite Service

Hughes will market OneWeb services around the world for applications such as enterprise and government networking, cellular backhaul and community Wi-Fi hotspots

Washington, DC, March 9, 2020 (OneWeb PR) – Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, and OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, today announced that Hughes has become a worldwide distribution partner for OneWeb.

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SpaceX Looks to Raise More Money

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

CNBC reports that SpaceX is looking to raise another round of funding.

The company is seeking to bring in about $250 million at a price of $220 a share, according to people familiar with the financing. The new raise would value SpaceX at around $36 billion, up from $33.3 billion  previously.

The round is not expected to close until the second week of March, those people told CNBC, and includes an equivalent purchase offer to existing SpaceX shareholders.

SpaceX did not respond to CNBC’s requests for comment. The details of the raise could change depending on market conditions between now and the second week of March.

Last year SpaceX raised $1.33 billion across three funding rounds. It’s one of the most valuable private companies in the world and, with consistently oversubscribed capital raises, SpaceX shares rank as some of the most in demand of any pre-IPO companies as well.

The steady fundraising comes as SpaceX continues development on three important programs: Crew Dragon, Starlink and Starship.

SpaceX Launches Fifth Starlink Mission

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Monday, February 17 at 10:05 a.m. EST, or 15:05 UTC, SpaceX launched its fifth Starlink mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Falcon 9’s first stage previously launched the CRS-17 mission in May 2019, the CRS-18 mission in July 2019, and the JCSAT-18/Kacific1 mission in December 2019.

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Your Weekend Rocket Forecast

Antares with Cygnus CRS-13 spacecraft on the launch pad on Wallops Island. (Credit: NASA)

Friday, February 14
Saturday, February 15

Launch Vehicle: Antares
Payload: Cygnus (NG-13)
Launch Time: 3:21 p.m. EST (2021 GMT) 3:43 p.m. EST (2043 GMT)
Launch Site: NASA Wallops Flight Facility (Virginia)
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

Northrop Grumman will launch a Cygnus resupply ship to the International Space Station.

Update: The launch was scrubbed on Friday due to unfavorable upper level winds.

Saturday, February 15
Sunday, February 16
Monday, February 17

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: 60 Starlink satellites
Launch Time: TBA 10:25 a.m. EST (1525 GMT) 10:46 a.m. EST (1546 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

SpaceX will launch 60 Starlink broadband satellites. The flight will add to the 242 Starlink satellites already launched.

Update: Launch postponed due to predicted poor weather in the first stage recovery area.

Update No. 2: Launch scrubbed to check on second stage valve. Now aiming for Monday.

Astranis Raises $90 Million Round Led by Venrock

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 13, 2020 (Astranis PR) — Astranis, the company building the next generation of telecommunication satellites, today announced a $90 million financing round to launch its first commercial satellite and build the foundation for the internet infrastructure of the future. The round was led by Venrock, with significant participation from existing investor Andreessen Horowitz.

Astranis aims to solve a problem in the modern space race that hasn’t been cracked: bringing the next four billion people online with low-cost, reliable internet. The $120 billion market is growing quickly – demand for internet is rising 40% per year, every year – but until now, there has been no practical, cost-effective solution for bringing internet access to remote parts of the world. Astranis is singularly focused on solving this problem.

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