Although the United Kingdom’s (UK) “Brexit” departure from the European Union (EU) on Jan. 1 will not affect its membership status in the European Space Agency (ESA), the nation’s participation in a number of European space programs is either ending or being curtailed.
On Christmas Eve, the UK and EU announced an agreement in principle that will govern trade, security and political relations after Brexit. Under the agreement, the UK’s participation in the:
Galileo satellite navigation and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) program will end;
Copernicus Earth observation satellite program will continue, contingent upon a further agreement to be worked out next year; and
EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUSST) program will end, although the Britain will continue to receive data as a non-EU country.
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.
LONDON (UK Government PR) — New options for a UK satellite navigation and timing capability programme to support the nation’s critical infrastructure will be explored by the government, it was announced today (Thursday 24 September).
The Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme (SBPP) will explore new and alternative ways that could be used to deliver vital satellite navigation services to the United Kingdom which are critical for the functioning of transport systems, energy networks, mobile communications and national security and defence, whilst boosting the British space industry and developing the UK’s own capabilities in these services.
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.
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.