OneWeb has launched yet more satellites into orbit, as it races Elon Musk's SpaceX to build the world's first high-speed, satellite-based broadband network.
Glavcosmos, a subsidiary of Russia's space agency State Space Activities Agency Roscosmos, has successfully launched OneWeb's 34 satellites into orbit, aiming to equip space with satellites and enable internet access from anywhere in the world. That will put its total constellation at 74 satellites, including a batch of 34 that were launched earlier this year, and six that went up last March. The 325-lb. (147 kilograms) satellites will then cruise up to their operational orbit, which lies at an altitude of 745 miles (1,200 km).
Echoing the remarks by OneWeb's Steckel, Raphael Roettgen, Managing Director of E2MC - a satellite finance company, told SpaceWatch.Global in an email that, "if anything, the current coronavirus-induced situation of working from home and increasing anecdotes about overloaded communications networks, has further validated the potential value of satellite broadband networks".
Unlike SpaceX, OneWeb intends to sell its connectivity services to governments and corporate customers that provide internet service to airplanes, ships and boats. We see the need for OneWeb, greater now more than ever before.
"The crisis has demonstrated the imperative need for connectivity everywhere and has exposed urgent shortcomings in many organisations' connectivity capabilities", said Steckel.
This follows a Bloomberg report Thursday that OneWeb, which has an investment of almost $ 3 billion from SoftBank In his last two rounds, he's considered filing for bankruptcy protection as a possible way to deal with a crisis in his available cash.
The Fregat booster with 34 satellites separated from the rocket minutes after the launch, according to the broadcast.
OneWeb is reportedly taking this action to address a cash crunch as it grapples with high costs and stiff competition, Bloomberg cited people with knowledge of the preparations as its source.
Despite almost doubling the size of the OneWeb constellation with Saturday's launch, the company is considering filing for bankruptcy.
The 20 March 2020 Bloomberg report suggests that OneWeb executives are exploring a court protection order filing to shield the company from its creditors, but are also understood to be examining alternative measures outside of the courts to restore the company's financial health.
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