The UK-funded satellite internet company OneWeb announced that the company has suspended all future launches as the invasion of Ukraine continues. OneWeb’s board, including shareholders from the UK government, India’s Bharti Global, SoftBank, and Eutelsat announced the decision with a Twitter post. It is estimated that the decision costs the company approximately $300 million, including the cost of the satellites left behind in Kazakhstan.
36 satellites’ launch canceled
OneWeb was expected to launch its global service within 2022. 36 satellites’ launch, which was scheduled for last week, was canceled. The head of Russian space agency, Dmitry Rogozin delivered an ultimatum to the UK government, requesting Britain to sell its 17.5% stake in the company and guarantee that the network would not be used for military purposes, or the Russian government would abort the launch of Russian Soyuz rockets carrying OneWeb satellites. Rogozin said,
« OK. I give you two days to think. There will be no guarantees of non-military use of the system, there will be no system. »
Now, the company should find another launch site to be able to launch the remaining 220 satellites of the company, including the 36 satellites located in Baikonur. Various online news sources also state that OneWeb has removed its teams from the launch site.