OneWeb gets ITU deadline extension
July 11, 2022
By Chris Forrester
Liechtenstein was turned down by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) last week in its request to grant its licence-holder Rivada Space a one-year extension to its launch plans for two 300-satellite constellations. But the ITU has granted a French National Frequencies Agency (ANFR) application on behalf of OneWeb and Airbus an eight-month extension to begin operation of a Q-band and V-band payload on one of its satellites.
The French had argued that ‘Force Majeure’ events had forced the payload’s delay which should have launched in April aboard a Soyuz rocket and the confiscation by Russia of a batch of 36 OneWeb satellites at the Baikonur cosmodrome. The ITU agreed.
The satellites, and in particular the Q/V-band vehicle, have been rebuilt by Airbus at their Airbus One Web Satellites joint-venture facility at its Florida factory. SpaceX is scheduled to launch the replacements later this year on a Falcon 9 rocket.
The ITU decision (made by its Radio Regulations Board) have granted OneWeb/Airbus and its contracted launch supplier Arianespace a 3-month delay for the launch delay plus a further 4 months to allow for orbit raising from the SpaceX orbital delivery to OneWeb’s 1200 kms orbital height.
The end result is that OneWeb now has until July 23rd 2023 – a considerable improvement from its November 23rd 2022 original deadline.