Signed a launch contract with a satellite internet competitor… NYT Russias space industry isolation deepens
A Soyuz rocket equipped with a one-web satellite that is erected and lowered on a launch pad
[Courtesy of Roscosmos/ Reuters Yonhap News file photo]
Reporter Eom Nam-seok = The satellites of the British satellite internet company OneWeb, which Russia refused to launch, were put into low-Earth orbit aboard the rocket of its competitor, SpaceX.
OneWeb announced on the 21st that it had signed a satellite launch contract with SpaceX, led by Elon Musk.
Specific terms of the contract, such as the timing and number of rocket launches, were not disclosed.
Oneweb originally planned to launch 36 satellites from the Baikonur space station in Kazakhstan on the 4th using a Russian Soyuz rocket.
However, as the Russian Federal Space Agency protested against sanctions against the invasion of Ukraine, six days planned for this year were canceled as a prerequisite for the launch, as well as guaranteeing that the mounted satellite would not be used for military purposes three days before launch and the disposal of the British governments stake in the launch. All launch plans were canceled.
A Soyuz rocket carrying a satellite was put on the launch pad and then withdrew, and 36 satellites were unloaded from the rocket, but their whereabouts are unknown.
Since then, OneWeb has been looking for a launch method that can replace the Soyuz rocket, and it has led to an unexpected result of partnering with Space X, which has been competing to build a satellite internet network by launching Starlink satellites.
The New York Times reported on OneWebs use of SpaceX rockets, noting that it shows Russias space industry, which is increasingly isolated from Western partners after the invasion of Ukraine.
OneWeb has launched all 428 satellites placed in low-Earth orbit using Soyuz rockets.
OneWeb expects that the first launch using the SpaceX rocket will take place within this year, and it is predicted that it will be as early as summer.
OneWeb originally planned to fully expand its satellite Internet service, which was partially provided in the northern hemisphere, from August this year, but was unable to achieve its goal due to satellite launch disruptions.
OneWeb, which was revived from the bankruptcy crisis in 2020 with an investment of $500 million by the British government, has a business plan to deploy a total of 648 satellites in low-Earth orbit to build a high-speed satellite internet network that can be accessed from anywhere on the planet.
OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson thanked SpaceX for his support, saying that as the satellite launch plan is re-established, it is on track to complete the satellite corps.
SpaceXs Falcon 9 rocket launches with Starlink satellites
[AP photo of Yonhap News]