OneWeb’s Russian $1bn launch plans at risk

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OneWeb wants to encircle the planet with around 900 smallish satellites to provide global broadband access. OneWeb wants to start launching its first satellites this winter, but a key part of its overall launch strategy is their use of Russian rockets.

Russian news site Kommersant reports that Russia’s space agency Roscosmos is likely to lose its existing $1 billion launch contract which covers 21 Soyuz rockets to be deployed between 2019-2021 from three launch sites: Baikonur (Kazakhstan), Vostochny (Russia) and Kourou (French Guiana).

The problems have come about because of objections by Russia’s FSB (its Federal Security Service) and which says the launches are a threat to national security.
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