Russia buys into OneWeb
February 26, 2019
By Chris Forrester
Russian businesses have reportedly bought a majority share of the OneWeb satellite mega-constellation that will operate over Russia via a Russian joint venture. This means, in essence, that OneWeb should now be able to gain access to Russian consumers, the president of a joint-venture partner said.
Dmitry Bakanov, DG of JSC Satellite System Gonets, said Russian majority ownership of the OneWeb operations over Russia, plus OneWeb’s decision to purchase 21 Russian Soyuz-Fregat rockets to launch the OneWeb satellite constellation, are strong arguments in favour of allowing OneWeb to operate in Russia. OneWeb needs ground stations to receive and transmit signals while the satellites are over Russia.
Russia is developing its own satellites for broadband connectivity under the Gazprom umbrella and using Israel’s Gilat for the ground network and terminals.
The first batch of six OneWeb satellites are scheduled to launch tomorrow (February 27th) aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Arianespace facility in French Guiana.
“The share of the Russian side in the joint venture has been brought up to 51 per cent. Information is being exchange between the interested parties to analyse various issues, including security issues and processes related to the first launch of OneWeb satellites are underway,” Bakanov told Russian news site Kommersant. “Negotiations are under way about the possibility of Russian capital participating in OneWeb. The final decision will depend on the outcome of each of these components.”