A satellite-internet company snubbed Russia in favor of Elon Musk's SpaceX
- OneWeb announced it reached an agreement with SpaceX to launch its satellites within the year.
- The partnership comes after the company suspended future launches with Russia's space agency.
A British satellite company announced on Monday that it had reached a deal with SpaceX that would allow it to resume satellite launches after severing ties with Russia's space agency earlier this month.
The London-based startup said SpaceX would launch its first batch of OneWeb satellites within the year, but did not provide any details as to the terms of the agreement. OneWeb is a direct competitor with SpaceX's Starlink service as both companies are working to provide affordable internet services worldwide.
"We thank SpaceX for their support, which reflects our shared vision for the boundless potential of space," OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson said in a press release. "With these launch plans in place, we're on track to finish building out our full fleet of satellites and deliver robust, fast, secure connectivity around the globe."
SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.
OneWeb initially canceled its launch with Russia's Soyuz rocket and announced it was suspending all future launches from Baikonur, the spaceport in Kazakhstan where Russia conducts most of its launches, mere days before the company was set to send 36 satellites into orbit.
The decision to cancel the launch with Roscosmos came after the agency placed conditions on future launches. The agency demanded that the UK government sell its multibillion dollar stake in OneWeb and that the company guarantee the satellites will not be used for military purposes, according to an ultimatum that was posted on Twitter from Roscosmos' official account. At the time, the agency said its demands are "because of Britain's hostile stance against Russia."
Kwasi Kwerteng, the UK's business and energy secretary, tweeted in response to Roscosmos' post that there would be "no negotiation on OneWeb."
"The UK government is not selling its share," he tweeted.
The head of Russia's space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, suggested OneWeb would go into bankruptcy once again without the Soyuz rockets, according to a report from The New York Times. At the time, Chris McLaughlin, OneWeb's chief of government affairs, dismissed Rogozin's warning. Previously, the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2020, following a $1 billion equity investment from several groups, including the UK government and India's Bharti Enterprises.
Rogozin also posted a video on Twitter showing agency staff covering up the British, American, and Japanese flags that are posted on the interior of the rocket.
—РОГОЗИН (@Rogozin) March 2, 2022
"The launchers at Baikonur decided that without the flags of some countries, our rocket would look more beautiful," Rogozin said on Twitter, according to an Insider translation of the tweet.
Roscosmos' ultimatum came the day before the agency announced it would halt rocket engine sales to the US amid a growing number of Western sanctions.
OneWeb is not the only company to cut ties with Roscosmos. Last week, the European Space Agency said it no longer planned to launch its ExoMars mission in September on a Russian rocket.
The launch was a part of OneWeb'es plan to create a 648-satellite constellation. To date, the company has 428 satellites in orbit. For comparison, SpaceX has launched over 2,000 Starlink satellites into orbit and plans to create a constellation of over 42,000. The space venture is set to initiate its 12th weekly satellite launch later this week.
Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.
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