OneWeb suspends Baikonur launches; Russia ends science co-operation in space

(03 Mar 2022) OneWeb said was suspending all launches from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan after Moscow's space agency demanded guarantees that its technology would not be used for military purposes. In related news, Russia said it will no longer provide Western companies with rocket engines.

The British government, which owns a stake in OneWeb, said it supported the decision.

A spokesman for OneWeb didn't immediately answer questions about what will happen to the 36 satellites on site in Kazakhstan, about back-up plans for future launches, or about the scale of any potential losses if the satellites prove impossible to retrieve.

Roskosmos previously said the satellites "will remain there until the situation is resolved," according to the Russian Tass news agency.

SpaceNews reported that OneWeb could be affected in another way by sanctions: under a joint venture with Airbus, it uses spacecraft thrusters imported from Fakel, a Russian propulsion company. The companies have not disclosed how many satellites still need to be built to complete OneWeb's constellation, or whether enough thrusters have been stockpiled.

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Dmitry Rogozin, director-general of Roskosmos, announced that Russia would be halting the delivery of rocket engines to the U.S.

Rogozin added that Russia would be ending co-operation with the U.S. on experiments on the ISS. He added that the priority of the country's space programme would be adjusted to focus on satellites for defence interests.

Rogozin announced as well on Thursday that Roskosmos would be freezing co-operation with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in a letter to the administrator of the DLR. The DLR announced on Thursday that it was terminating all collaboration activities with Russian institutions and would not start any new projects or initiatives with them.

Reference: Reuters, Bloomberg, SpaceNews

#Airbus  #Fakel  #ISS  #OneWeb  #OneWeb Satellites