OneWeb, a broadband satellite startup headquartered in London, selected competitor SpaceX to launch 40 internet-beaming satellites. OneWeb became SpaceX’s rival in 2021 when Amazon Kuiper and ViaSat satellite companies engaged in a legal battle against SpaceX’s plans to modify the operational altitude of around 2,800 Starlink satellites. OneWeb also opposed SpaceX's plans due to “satellite collision concerns” in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Last year, OneWeb claimed that a SpaceX Starlink satellite nearly collided with a OneWeb satellite; SpaceX denied the accusation during a meeting with OneWeb and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). They analyzed the data about the collision claim and SpaceX said it conducted a successful coordination with OneWeb that resulted in a positive outcome. Starlink satellites are equipped with automated collision avoidance technology. Now, it seems that the companies have formed a peace treaty and are leaving their past issues in the past. This week, OneWeb jokingly posted a video of clicking 'Follow' on SpaceX's Twitter profile then announced it paid for SpaceX launch provider services to get its broadband system in orbit. – “Inspiring Global Cooperation,” says the mission badge which features SpaceX’s and OneWeb’s company logos, pictured below. OneWeb has faced many challenges since its founding to keep the company alive. Most recently, OneWeb struggled to complete launching its broadband satellite constellation, when the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, the company filed for bankruptcy. Then Russia aggressively invaded Ukraine and started a war against the entire country in February this year and world governments imposed strong sanctions against Russia. OneWeb was forced to switch launch providers, it largely depended on Russia’s Soyuz rocket to launch its satellites to space.
OneWeb Launch 15 is scheduled to take place with @SpaceX next week from Merritt Island, Florida.— OneWeb (@OneWeb) December 2, 2022
Lift-off is scheduled for no earlier than 17:37 local time on 6 December. That's 22:37 UTC.#OneWebLaunch15 🚀 pic.twitter.com/N3TDmdDnqo
OneWeb is back on track to deploy its satellite constellation with help from SpaceX’s rockets. A Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch 40 OneWeb satellites on Tuesday, December 6, at 5:37 p.m. ET from Kennedy Space Center in Florida [date is subject to change]. 12/06/2022 UPDATE: "To allow for additional pre-launch checks, OneWeb Launch #15 with SpaceX is now targeted for no earlier than Thursday, 8th of December at 5:27pm ET. Stay tuned for more updates," the company announced. “This launch will be OneWeb’s 15th to date, and its second since resuming its launch campaign with a successful flight from India in October, placing the company on track to deliver global coverage in 2023,” said OneWeb in a press release. “This launch will add another 40 satellites to OneWeb’s LEO satellite fleet, and complete almost 80% of its first-generation constellation of 648 satellites that will deliver global wholesale connectivity for its partners. This milestone mission marks OneWeb’s first time launching from Florida, where its satellites are also produced by OneWeb Satellites – a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus.” The upcoming satellite launch will enable OneWeb to expand internet service across the USA, Europe, and much of the Middle East and Asia. “OneWeb’s connectivity solutions are already active in Alaska, Canada, the UK, Greenland, and the wider Arctic area to provide internet connectivity to unserved and underserved rural and remote communities and businesses,” said the company.
Featured Images Source: OneWeb / SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.