OneWeb strikes deal to launch satellites with SpaceX after cutting ties with Russian space agency

OneWeb will resume satellite launches with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the British satellite communications company announced Monday after suspending launches from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

OneWeb did not disclose the terms of the new launch agreement.

Earlier in March, OneWeb said it would halt launches after Moscow space agency Roscosmos demanded guarantees that its technology would not be used for military purposes.

The UK government, which owns a stake in OneWeb, said it was reviewing its involvement in other projects with Russia after its “illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine”.

The British firm plans its first launch with SpaceX this year to complete its in-orbit constellation of 428 satellites.

“With these launch plans in place, we are on track to complete the construction of our full satellite fleet,” said OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson.

OneWeb, which will offer broadband via a constellation of 650 satellites, was rescued from bankruptcy by the UK government and Bharti Global in 2020. Eutelsat Communications and SoftBank Group Corp are among other investors in the company.

SpaceX’s Starlink also uses satellites in low Earth orbit to provide internet access to areas that are underserved or hard to reach for other service providers.

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