Russia’s state-run press today confirmed that the launch tomorrow of another 36 OneWeb satellites on a Soyuz-2 rocket from Baikonur has been cancelled.
The decision was announced by Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin.
He also instructed to stop preparations for the launch of British OneWeb communications satellites from three spaceports. “All the launches from all Russian launch pads in Kourou, in Baikonur and at the Vostochny Cosmodrome involving the OneWeb company are to be stopped,” the Roscosmos CEO said.
Rogozin has already said that Russia will not refund OneWeb any money it paid for any of the cancelled launches. Nor will Russia return the OneWeb satellites in Kazakhstan to OneWeb.
Meanwhile, it appears that OneWeb is aggressively searching for new launch alternatives.
“We’re looking at U.S., Japanese and Indian options,” Chris McLaughlin, OneWeb’s chief of government, regulatory affairs and engagement, said March 3. “But in the first instance, we’re pointing to Ariane and saying you still owe us a number of launches.”
This statement implies that OneWeb is trying to get Arianespace to pick up the cost of any launches where Russia has been paid but will not launch. This way OneWeb won’t have to pay twice for the launch. This strategy will only work if the partners in the European Space Agency, which owns Arianespace, decide to cover OneWeb’s losses to Russia, which makes this a political decision.
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Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
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