First Launch of UK’s OneWeb Satellites From Baikonur Postponed From Jan to Feb: Source

MOSCOW, Dec 29: The first launch of UK telecommunications satellites OneWeb, scheduled to take place on January 30 from the Baikonur cosmodrome on Russia’s Soyuz carrier rocket, has been postponed till early February, a source in rocket and space industry told Sputnik on Sunday.
The launch has already been postponed twice – from December 19 to January 23 and then to January 30. “The launch has been postponed from January 30 to February 9,” the source said, adding that a further postponement was also a possibility to not be ruled out.
The delay they said was caused by that several of satellites had not yet been delivered to Baikonur. According to Glavkosmos, subsidiary of Russian space agency Roscosmos, there are to be 34 satellites in total. “The first batch arrived on December 16, but the second one is being late.
The planned date [of delivery] is January 19,” the source specified. Roscosmos signed contracts with French company Arianespace and UK’s OneWeb in June 2015 for carrying out a total of 21 commercial launches to bring 672 satellites to space atop the Soyuz rockets from Kourou, Baikonur and Vostochny spaceports.
OneWeb plans to create a constellation of satellites that will provide broadband Internet access to users around the world fully covering the Earth’s surface. In cooperation with Roscosmos, the OneWeb company sent up its first satellites in February, and has planned teh next two launches for the end of this year and the first half of 2020. In April 2019, OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said that the initial constellation of 650 satellites would begin to provide commercial services in 2021.
The constellation is expected to include about 2,000 satellites by 2026. (AGENCIES)