UK and Bharti take control of failed satellite firm OneWeb

Paris 23 November 2020

Paris 23 November 2020

"Access to our own global fleet of satellites has the potential to connect people worldwide, providing fast UK-backed broadband from the Shetlands to the Sahara and from Pole to Pole".

"Our December launch puts the United Kingdom firmly in the global space business, alongside acknowledged Indian telecoms experts, Bharti Global".

Mittal said OneWeb is eyeing a full global coverage, including India market, by the middle of 2022.

OneWeb's main rival in the constellation field will be Starlink, a startup by Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX, which has already sent over 700 satellites in orbit and has also begun beta testing with customers.

Mittal said that by October next year, OneWeb will have 290-300 satellites available.

OneWeb also announced the second half of December 2020 for its "Return-to-Flight", with a 36-satellite payload scheduled for launch by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

"The company will ensure that the United Kingdom is at the forefront of a new commercial space industrial age, evolving technology and innovation, and will work with the United Kingdom commercial and academic space communities, along with other global specialists, in its research and development activities", the company statement said.

OneWeb was established in 2012 with the aim of developing advanced satellite technology to deliver Internet service in remote parts of the world, with plans to launch 650 low-Earth-orbit satellites to achieve the ambitious goal of becoming a global commercial Internet service provider by 2022. The company is focused on providing internet connectivity to governments, businesses, and individuals across the world with its satellite technology. "We look forward to partnering with those equally determined to enter this new space age". OneWeb is now staffing up to complete the development of its first-generation constellation, adding new employees in the UK, and we will continue to work with OneWeb to maximise the benefits to the UK from the OneWeb program, both before and after commercial launch, ' the UK government said in a press release.

Due to investment decisions made by the new shareholders, the joint venture facility with Airbus in Florida, USA was re-activated and the dual production lines brought back into service.

Neil Masterson has been named CEO of OneWeb.

The government is committed to work with OneWeb's shareholder partners to use this investment as a platform to promote United Kingdom jobs and supply chains and protect United Kingdom critical assets and intellectual property.

"This is a significant strategic investment, demonstrating the government's commitment to the UK's space sector and ambition to put Britain at the forefront of a new commercial space-age", the United Kingdom government said in a press release.

That job will fall to former Thomson Reuters COO Neil Masterson, who takes over from the CEO who oversaw the bankruptcy Adrian Steckel.

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