UK Government to Acquire Bankrupt OneWeb

LONDON (UK Government PR) — The government has today (3 July) led a successful bid to acquire OneWeb, which develops cutting-edge satellite technology in the UK and in the US.

The move signals the government’s ambition for the UK to be a pioneer in the research, development, manufacturing, and exploitation of novel satellite technologies through the ownership of a fleet of Low Earth orbit satellites.

(more…)

Bankrupt OneWeb Acquired by Consortium Led by UK Govt, Bharti Global

OneWeb satellite (Credit: OneWeb)
  • A consortium of Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited have committed to provide more than USD$1 billion to acquire OneWeb and fund the full restart of its business operations.
  • OneWeb will look to resume operations as soon as possible and continue with progress towards providing global high-speed, low latency connectivity via its state-of-the-art satellite constellation.
  • Agreement remains subject to approval by OneWeb’s creditors, the Bankruptcy Court, and applicable regulators, with completion expected by the fourth quarter of 2020.

LONDON, July 3, 2020 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, the communications company whose mission is to bring connectivity to governments, businesses, and people everywhere, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with a consortium led by HMG  (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited (“Bharti”) for the acquisition of the OneWeb business in connection with its court-supervised sale process. The bid is designed to capitalise the company sufficiently as a going concern to effectuate the full end-to-end deployment of the OneWeb system.

(more…)

OneWeb – The Opportunity for the UK

OneWeb satellite (Credit: OneWeb)

HARWELL, UK (Satellite Applications Catapult PR) — According to press reports, the UK government is a partner in a bid for OneWeb, the UK- headquartered satellite communications company which, following the well-publicised financial difficulties of a major investor, entered Chapter 11 in March. If these reports are true, and the bid is successful, then it is great news for the UK space sector and UK citizens.

(more…)

SpaceX Launches 58 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 lifts off on June 13, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX launched its ninth Starlink mission on Saturday, lofting 58 Starlink and three Planet SkySat Earth observation satellites into orbit.

Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the pre-dawn darkness.

(more…)

Schedule for Upcoming Launches

Electron rocket lifts off on Jan. 31, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The week ahead features launches by Rocket Lab and SpaceX, Vega’s first rideshare mission, two Chinese launches, and a Japanese sounding rocket flight.

(more…)

SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched 60 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit on Wednesday evening from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The satellites separated from the booster’s second stage 15 minutes after launch. SpaceX has launched 482 Starlink satellites into Earth orbit.

Elon Musk’s company has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to launch nearly 12,000 satellites to provide broadband services to any location on Earth.

Satellites on this launch are equipped with visors that will be deployed to limit their reflectivity. Astronomers has complained that the Starlink constellation has interfered with Earth-based observations.

The Falcon’s 9 first stage successfully landed on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. The flight marked the fifth use of the first stage.

The recovered stage previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018, the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019, and two separate Starlink missions in May 2019 and in January 2020.

SpaceX said it would attempt to recover the payload fairings using the Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief recovery ships. The company has not said whether the recovery effort was successful.

SpaceX to Launch Next Starlink Batch of Satellites on Wednesday Night

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Wednesday June 3 at 9:25 p.m. EDT, 1:25 UTC on June 4, for its eighth launch of Starlink satellites. Falcon 9 will lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A backup opportunity is available on Thursday, June 4 at 9:03 p.m. EDT, 1:03 UTC on June 5.

You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 10 minutes before liftoff.

(more…)

Bankrupt OneWeb Seeks to Increase Satellite Constellation Up to 48,000 Satellites

LONDON, UK, May 27, 2020 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to connect governments, businesses and people everywhere, submitted a modification request to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase the number of satellites in its constellation up to 48,000 satellites. This larger OneWeb constellation will allow for greater flexibility to meet soaring global connectivity demands.

(more…)

SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink Launch Rescheduled for Tuesday Morning

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

UPDATE: The launch has been postponed until after the Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch scheduled for May 27.

SpaceX’s launch of a Falcon 9 booster with 60 satellites aboard that was originally scheduled for today (Sunday) has been postponed until Tuesday, May 19 at 3:10 a.m. EDT if the weather permits it.

United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V launch of the U.S. Space Force’s X-37B vehicle was scrubbed on Saturday due to inclement weather. The booster successfully launched the space plane on Sunday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

SpaceX had rescheduled the launch for Monday. However, the flight slipped a day due to a tropic depression developing off the southeast coast, the company said.

“SpaceX teams will continue monitoring launch and landing weather conditions,” the company tweeted.

Starlink is a constellation designed to provide high-speed broadband services around the world.

Amazon, SpaceX Among Companies Circling Bankrupt OneWeb

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are among companies doing due diligence on OneWeb, the satellite broadband company that declared bankruptcy in March.

Other companies interested include Eutelsat, Cerberus and two Chinese companies, according to Space Intel Report.

OneWeb has 74 satellites in orbit, which is only 11.4 percent of an initial planned constellation of 648 satellites designed to provide broadband services across the globe.

SpaceX is already deploying its rival Starlink constellation with satellites the company says are more capable than the ones launched by OneWeb. Bezos’ Amazon is planning its own satellite constellation.

It’s not clear whether potential buyers want to purchase the entire company or the OneWeb’s bandwidth allocation, which could be worth as much as $1 billion.

OneWeb filed bankruptcy in March, blaming the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for drying up financing for the multi-billion satellite constellation.

SpaceX Outlines Plans to Reduce Starlink Satellite Brightness

Telescopes at Lowell Observatory in Arizona captured this shot of galaxies May 25. Their image was marred by the reflected light from more than 25 Starlink satellites as they passed overhead. (Credit: Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is launching Starlink to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband connectivity across the globe, including to locations where internet has traditionally been too expensive, unreliable, or entirely unavailable. We also firmly believe in the importance of a natural night sky for all of us to enjoy, which is why we have been working with leading astronomers around the world to better understand the specifics of their observations and engineering changes we can make to reduce satellite brightness. Our goals include:

(more…)

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 with a first stage flying for the fourth time successfully orbited an additional 60 Starlink satellites on Wednesday.

The booster lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 3:30 p.m. EDT. The satellites separated from Falcon 9’s second stage 15 minutes after launch.

It was the seventh successful launch of a cluster of 60 Starlink spacecraft. The constellation, which will eventually total 12,000 satellites, will provide broadband services to any point on Earth.

The reused first stage successfully landed on an off-shore drone ship.

SpaceX to Launch Sixth Batch of Starlink Satellites Today

Falcon 9 launch with fourth batch of Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, April 22 at 3:30 p.m. EDT, or 19:30 p.m. UTC, for its seventh launch of Starlink satellites. Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A backup opportunity is available on Thursday, April 23 at 3:15 p.m. EDT, or 19:15 UTC.

Launch webcast will go live about 10 minutes before liftoff at spacex.com/webcast Approximately 35 minutes before liftoff, audio from mission control will be available at youtube.com/spacex.

(more…)

SpaceX Get Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations in USA

60 Starlink satellites begin to separate after deployment from the Falcon 9 second stage. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted SpaceX to deploy up to one million ground stations to connect users to its Starlink satellite broadband service.

Each ground station is just under 19 inches (.48 m) across.

“It looks like a UFO on a stick,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said earlier this month. “It’s very important that you don’t need a specialist to install. The goal is for … just two instructions and they can be done in either order: Point at sky, plug in.”

SpaceX has launched 362 Starlink satellites as part of a constellation that could eventually total 42,000. The FCC has given Musk’s company approval to launch nearly 12,000 spacecraft. The company has submitted paperwork to place another 30,000 into orbit.

SpaceX plans to launch additional groups of 60 satellites roughly every two weeks aboard Falcon 9 boosters. The company hopes to begin service in the United States later this year.

Musk has said Starlink satellites will be able to deliver high-speed broadband service with latency below 20 milliseconds.

Bankrupt OneWeb Owes Arianespace Nearly a Quarter Billion Dollars

OneWeb listed Arianespace as its top creditor with $238,137,447.58 in unsecured debt in a bankruptcy filing on Friday.

The French company is far ahead of the other 29 top unsecured creditors listed in the filing. Other companies in the top 10 include:

  • Qualcomm Technologies: $8,000,000.00
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd: $6,861,336.01
  • Hughes Network Systems: $5,352,750.51
  • Deutsche Bank: $5,200,734.82
  • Wipro Ltd.: $2,470,647.25
  • Willis Towers Watson PLC: $1,899,895.09
  • Viasat: $1,225,000.00
  • Nokia Corporation: $988,051.09
  • Redapt, Inc.: 662,275.85.

Arianespace released a brief statement on the bankruptcy:

Arianespace is aware of the Chapter 11 filing by several OneWeb companies in US Bankruptcy Court in the state of New York (USA) on March 27, 2020.

As Arianespace is in a contractual relationship with OneWeb, the company was consequently listed among the creditors in the document filed on March 27.

Arianespace will monitor the progress of this procedure in accordance with its rights and commitments, and has no further comment to make at this time.

In its filing, OneWeb said it has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors. The company estimated its liabilities and assets at between $1 billion and $10 billion apiece.

OneWeb has laid off all but a small number of employees who are overseeing operations of its 74 satellites. The company was building a constellation of satellites to provide global broadband services.