Russian Rocket Carries 34 New OneWeb Satellites into Orbit

A Russian Soyuz rocket delivered 34 more satellites to orbit for OneWeb’s space-based Internet network in the company’s second launch this year, Space News reported.

OneWeb intends to deploy a total of more than 600 satellites in low Earth orbit, which are designed to provide consumers on the ground with 24-hour high-speed Internet directly through satellite communications.

The mission took place despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has limited much space activity elsewhere. It also comes amid rumors the firm may consider seeking bankruptcy protection.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that OneWeb was examining different options it could use to stave off the difficulties of a cash crunch.

A spokesperson wouldn’t comment on those rumours, telling BBC News only that OneWeb was “focused 100% on launch”.

OneWeb is in a race with a number of other companies that want to provide the same kind of global internet coverage.

U.S. entrepreneur Elon Musk is developing his Starlink constellation which envisages thousands of connected satellites. Likewise, Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon and the world’s wealthiest individual, has proposed a system he calls Kuiper.

What they all are trying to do is very expensive. OneWeb has raised so far $3 billion to fund its activities, but will need much more than this to fulfill all its plans.

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