Monday 21 September 2020 4:33 pm

Government's satellite startup Oneweb to restart launches in December

Oneweb is to restart satellite launches in December, after being rescued from bankruptcy by the UK government earlier this year.

The launches will be carried out with Arianespace, with plans for the satellites to be ready for commercial services next year.

Its first launch in December will be one of sixteen under an amended agreement with Arianespace, taking its total in-orbit fleet up to 110 satellites. It plans to complete the fleet by 2022.

Oneweb is jointly owned by UK taxpayers and Indian firm Bharti Global, after a bankruptcy sale process in July. The sale is expected to conclude in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The transaction is currently being probed by an independent parliamentary committee, which will determine whether the acquisition of Oneweb is in line with the government’s plans to boost the UK’s space sector.

Oneweb said initial regions for commercial service will include the UK, Alaska, northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic seas and Canada.

The agreement with Arianespace is subject to confirmation of the company’s restructuring plan.

The government and Bharti Global have pledged to invest a total of $1bn in Oneweb, which hopes to use low earth orbit satellites to provide communication services such as high-speed broadband.

US satellite broadband provider Hughes Network Systems joined the Oneweb constellation later in July when it agreed to invest $50m.