Airtel Says No More Russia: Elon Musk to Launch Satellites For Internet Connectivity Across India


OneWeb, a British satellite venture, announced Monday it has contracted with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to launch its satellites into orbit.

How Did This Happen? 

Next, Moscow forced the cancellation of a rocket launch for OneWeb from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at the 11th hour.

OneWeb has not yet announced the terms of its deal with California-based SpaceX, one of OneWeb’s direct competitors in the burgeoning broadband satellite industry.

OneWeb cancelled the planned March 4 launch of 36 satellites from Baikonur at the beginning of the month.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has suspended their ties with OneWeb after Moscow imposed last-minute demands on the company, including a guarantee that OneWeb’s technology wouldn’t be used for military purposes.

Russia Ukraine Crisis Impact

OneWeb’s launch scrub coincided with heightened tensions between Russia and NATO governments, including Britain, over economic sanctions imposed by the West against Moscow in response to Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Considering its stake in OneWeb, the British government said it was reviewing its participation in any further projects with Russia.

OneWeb will launch its first satellite with SpaceX later this year to join its constellation of 428 satellites already in low-Earth orbit.

On Track Development

Neil Masterson, Chief Executive Officer of OneWeb, said, “With these launch plans in place, we are on track to complete the deployment of our full fleet.”.

During 2020, the British government and the Indian telecom giant Bharti Global rescued OneWeb from bankruptcy by offering universal broadband through a network that will ultimately consist of 650 satellites.

SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) and Eutelsat Communications (ETL.PA) are also among the firm’s investors.

SpaceX’s Starlink is one of several ventures in the fast-growing satellite broadband industry.

The, Inc. subsidiary Project Kuiper has placed 1,500 satellites in operation, providing internet access to regions underserved or difficult to reach by other means.