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OneWeb gives up on stolen satellites

March 17, 2023

OneWeb’s CEO Neil Masterson has largely given up in trying to retrieve satellites worth some $50 million in a dispute related to the Ukraine conflict.

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos – in essence – confiscated a batch of 36 satellites that had been delivered ahead of a planned launch from Baikonur and as retaliation to the sanctions placed on Russia shortly after the outbreak of the war against Ukraine.

OneWeb will complete its initial orbital deployment of its constellation with an India rocket launch of the final batch of satellites on March 26th.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, said at the time that his agency wanted OneWeb to provide guarantees that its satellites were not going to be used against Russia.

Western sanctions following the Ukraine invasion have badly impacted Moscow’s space industry, and Rogozin also demanded that Britain sell its stake in OneWeb. Rogozin was replaced by Vladimir Putin in July 2022.

“I spend no time thinking about it. We’ve completely moved on,” Masterson said, speaking at the Washington Satellite 2023 conference. “There is value getting them back, but I can tell you that I’m not getting them back any time soon.”

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