The OneWeb mega-constellation of broadband-by-satellite craft has postponed its launch to later this year.
OneWeb’s 10 test-satellites are being built by its shareholding partner Airbus in Toulouse and the first craft had been expected to launch this month. In an interview with trade newspaper Space News, founder and executive chairman of OneWeb Greg Wyler says that initial launches will now take place during Q4.
In all, the Airbus partnership is to build an initial 900 OneWeb satellites, although the final size of the constellation is likely to much larger.
OneWeb, and its main financial backer Japan’s media conglomerate SoftBank, has said that services will start in 2019, although only with a few hundred satellites in orbit.
OneWeb has launch contracts in place with Arianespace (using its Soyuz rocket) as well as with minority partner Virgin Orbit as well as with Jeff Bezos for future New Glenn rocket launches.
OneWeb, with Airbus, is building a new $85 million satellite manufacturing facility at Merritt Island’s Exploration Park, almost adjacent to Cape Canaveral.