Taxpayer backed OneWeb has announced it will be teaming up Elon Musk’s SpaceX to move forward with satellite launches.
It comes after OneWeb severed ties with the Russian firm Baikonur Cosmodrome following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, axing plans to launch 36 satellites using Soyuz rockets.
The Russian Space Agency had demanded a guarantee from the British firm that the satellites would not be used for military purposes.
The combination with SpaceX, which owns Starlink, marks a major moment in the space race, joining together previous rivals.
OneWeb said SpaceX will take over the launch contract, and chief exec Neil Masterson said: “We thank SpaceX for their support, which reflects our shared vision for the boundless potential of space. 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.”
The launch is expected this year and it will add to OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation that currently stands at 428 satellites, or 66 per cent of the fleet. OneWeb’s network will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.