OneWeb confirms layoffs and potential launch schedule delays amid reported bankruptcy considerations

Arianespace conducted its third launch for One Web March 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit Roscosmos webcast

Arianespace conducted its third launch for One Web March 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit Roscosmos webcast

Glavcosmos, a subsidiary of Russia's space agency State Space Activities Agency Roscosmos, has successfully launched OneWeb's 34 satellites into orbit, aiming to equip space with satellites and enable internet access from anywhere in the world.

The first six OneWeb satellites were launched from French Guiana in February 2019, and another batch of 34 satellites was launched last month from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

These latest launch bring the total OneWeb constellation to 74 satellites. The 325-lb. (147 kilograms) satellites will then cruise up to their operational orbit, which lies at an altitude of 745 miles (1,200 km).

The launch of all the satellites was successful, also being Oneweb's third launching of the satellites. And many more missions are coming: The company, which has headquarters in London and Virginia, intends to build an initial network of 650 satellites, which will provide internet service to people around the world.

The OneWeb launch is going ahead on Saturday with more launches planned later in the year; however, like others, we are impacted by the global health and economic crisis and we need to dynamically adjust our workforce.

"We are very proud of the progress we have made so far in 2020 and I would like to show the utmost gratitude for the time, effort, and expertise of the OneWeb company, our partners and our people as we come together and support one another", said Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb.

"In these unprecedented times following the global outbreak of Covid-19, people around the world find themselves trying to continue their lives and work online", said Steckel.

OneWeb satellite operator It has confirmed that its workforce has been reduced through layoffs, after Newsdio learned that it cut its workforce by as much as 10 percent this week. "Our satellite network is poised to fill in many of these critical gaps in the global communications infrastructure", he said. Unfortunately, we believe it is inevitable that there will be delays in our satellite launch and manufacturing schedule due to increased travel restrictions and disruption of supply chains globally.

According to a Bloomberg report, OneWeb is exploring both filing for bankruptcy and other out-of-court alternatives in an attempt to address dwindling cash reserves. In a statement to TechCrunch, a OneWeb spokesperson cited the Coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis as the reason behind the layoffs.

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