Global satellite communications company OneWeb said that it will switch launches to Elon Musk’s SpaceX. It also suspended activities with Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
OneWeb announced that the company and SpaceX entered into an agreement that will enable OneWeb to resume satellite launches.
The terms of the agreement remain confidential and the first launch is expected later this year.
OneWeb decided to scrap all launches from Baikonur. As it would have used Russian Soyuz rockets. It wasoverseen by the Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.
The group faced intense political pressure to scrap Baikonur activities in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
OneWeb are on track to finish building out our full fleet of satellites and deliver robust, fast, secure connectivity around the globe, with these launch plans in place.
OneWeb has already launched 428 satellites into orbit via Soyuz rockets under Starsem. It is a joint venture between Europe’s Arianespace and Russia’s Roscosmos.
The group was working to complete the construction of a constellation of low earth orbit satellites to provide enhanced broadband and other services around the globe.
OneWeb is aiming for its global commercial internet service to be operational by next year. It is supported by a total of almost 650 satellites.
Arianespace worked with Russia for nearly two decades. It is under contract to make 16 Soyuz launches between December 2020 and the end of this year.
Russia suspended space launches from French Guiana and withdrew technical personnel on February 26 in response to EU sanctions over Moscow’s assault on Ukraine.