OneWeb sends further satellites in space

James Marshall
March 24, 2020

The launch took place on March 21 with about 34 satellites launched through Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan.

Satellite operator OneWeb lofted 34 more spacecraft today (March 21) to beef up its burgeoning broadband constellation.

OneWeb aims to provide high-bandwidth communication services using low Earth orbit satellites, with a focus on rural and other areas that are hard-to-reach for terrestrial networks. OneWeb, which will be fully operational with 650 satellites, is expected to launch new satellites in groups in the coming years, and is said to have launched all its satellites by the last quarter of 2021.

Unlike SpaceX, OneWeb intends to sell its connectivity services to governments and corporate customers that provide internet service to airplanes, ships and boats.

The launch of all the satellites was successful, also being Oneweb's third launching of the satellites.

The OneWeb launch will continue on Saturday with more launches planned later in the year; however, like others, we are affected by the global economic and health crisis and we need to dynamically adjust our workforce.

"In these unprecedented times following the global outbreak of Covid-19, people around the world find themselves trying to continue their lives and work online".

This follows a report from Thursday by Bloomberg that OneWeb, which has almost $3 billion in investment from SoftBank over its past two rounds, is considering filing for bankruptcy protection as one possible way to deal with a crunch in its available cash. "We see the need for OneWeb greater now more than ever before", OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said in a statement.

The Fregat booster with 34 satellites separated from the rocket minutes after the launch, according to the broadcast. The crisis has demonstrated the imperative need for connectivity everywhere and has exposed urgent shortcomings in many organisations' connectivity capabilities. "Our satellite network is poised to fill in many of these critical gaps in the global communications infrastructure".

OneWeb is reportedly taking this action to address a cash crunch as it grapples with high costs and stiff competition, Bloomberg cited people with knowledge of the preparations as its source.

The Bloomberg report says it is looking for other options beyond a formal bankruptcy filing to stay afloat, but the company faces major challenges in terms of operating costs. The report noted that if that were to happen, OneWeb would be among the first SoftBank-backed companies to file for bankruptcy.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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