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OneWeb looks at de-orbiting failed satellite

November 26, 2021

By Chris Forrester

A OneWeb satellite (numbered SL41) orbiting at about 1200 kms, has failed because of a software problem and the satellite operator is looking to de-orbit the craft and is considering how best to remove it from orbit.

The satellite is the only one of the 358 OneWeb craft to have failed, which is itself an excellent record. It seems the satellite was one of a batch of 34 launched on February 6th last year. The problem occurred, according to OneWeb, with a software issue which occurred as the craft was being raised to its working orbit.

Chris McLaughlin, OneWeb VP/Chief of government, says that the operator is now looking at how best to handle the de-orbiting. Earlier this year, the company joined an ESA-backed debris removal scheme with Astroscale (participating in ESA’s Sunrise project).

The UK Space Agency is part-funding Astroscale and a Swiss business ClearSpace to the tune of about $1 million to remove two spacecraft from orbit by 2025.

On November 24th, Astroscale raised some $109 million (in a Series F Funding round), taking its total raised to date to some $300 million. The company says that this will boost its plan to provide in-orbit servicing of satellites by 2030.

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