Daily Management Review

OneWeb goes bankrupt


OneWeb, which is creating the eponymous global satellite Internet system, has filed for bankruptcy. It was planned that the company would place 650 satellites in low Earth orbit, with 74 vehicles already launched. OneWeb, along with SpaceX, was one of two companies that began creating global satellite constellations to provide Internet access.

The OneWeb project assumed that the system would consist of 650 satellites located in 12 different planes with an orbit height of 1200 kilometers. The Airbus Defense and Space is responsible for creating the devices. Satellites must communicate with user terminals or large ground stations. Almost all launches were to be carried out by Russian Soyuz rockets from the Baikonur and Kuru spaceports.

The first six OneWeb satellites were launched by the Soyuz-SB rocket in February 2019. Testing of satellites and terminals showed that they were capable of providing speeds above 400 megabits per second and a response time from a satellite of 30 milliseconds. Then, on February 6 and March 21, 2020, the first full launches of 34 vehicles per launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome took place.

Despite interim successes, OneWeb announced that it was unable to obtain funding that would ensure that it launched the remaining satellites and ground stations. The company said that the reason was the global economic crisis associated with the pandemic of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. According to the FT sources, OneWeb tried to get $ 2 billion in investment from SoftBank, but the deal fell through a few hours before the launch of 34 satellites on March 21.

source: ft.com