UK-based satellite firm OneWeb has confirmed a $229m write-down after canceled Russian launches
Following the cancellation of planned launches from a Russian facility earlier this year, the satellite company OneWeb, based in the United Kingdom, has confirmed a $229 million asset write-down. The company, which is owned in part by the government of the United Kingdom, is in the process of constructing a constellation of 650 satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in order to bring internet access to some of the world’s most inaccessible regions. This will revolutionize consumer services, in-flight Wi-Fi, and industrial applications. It used to launch satellites from the Russian-run Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but it stopped doing that earlier this year after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russian space agency Roscomos wanted assurances that the technology would not be put to military use against the country. Since then, OneWeb has made deals with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and New Space India to continue launches as the company works toward its goal. However, Russia has taken equipment that was left in Baikonur, which led to the write-down.
The buyout of the business by the Indian telecommunications giant Bharti Airtel and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy in 2020 saved the company from the possibility of going bankrupt in the year 2020. After making an investment of £400 million, the government now has ownership of a third of the company. Since then, the South Korean company Hanwha has given it more money, bringing the total amount of money it has gotten since it was started to $2.7 billion.
OneWeb and Eutelsat came to an agreement earlier this year to merge. They thought that by combining their financial and technological resources, they would be able to create hybrid low-earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary orbit (GEO) services that could better compete with SpaceX and Amazon’s Project Kuiper.