Earlier today, OneWeb has announced that the company will resume launches of its broadband satellite constellation with SpaceX. This news comes shortly after OneWeb terminated its contract to launch satellites on Soyuz boosters following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the official press release, OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson said, “We thank SpaceX for their support, which reflects our shared vision for the boundless potential of space. With these launch plans in place, we’re on track to finish building out our full fleet of satellites and deliver robust, fast, secure connectivity around the globe.”
Although the contract is in place, OneWeb said that the first launch is expected to occur sometime later this year. However, the company hasn’t revealed if the launch will be on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 or the larger Falcon Heavy.
The company noted, “Demand for OneWeb’s broadband connectivity services has continued to grow across telecommunications providers, aviation and maritime markets, and governments worldwide. OneWeb has activated service with its network at the 50th parallel and above, and early partners are initiating service.”
Till now, OneWeb has used 13 Soyuz launches to send 428 of 648 satellites that will make up the company’s initial satellite constellation. Although the company was set to send another 36 satellites earlier this month, Russia’s invasion and UK’s subsequent sanction on Russia meant the company was forced to cancel the contract.
Initially OneWeb had contracted and paid for a total of 19 Soyuz launches to deploy its initial satellite constellation. As OneWeb’s options for other launchers were limited due to pandemic, the company has now decided to work with SpaceX to complete its initial constellation.