Satellite operator OneWeb has announced that it is set to resume the launch programme for its global broadband network in December 2020, following the sale of the company to a UK government-led consortium during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.
Launch operator Arianespace has agreed to amend its existing launch contract with OneWeb after the change in ownership, putting the communications company on track to complete the deployment of its full global constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites by the end of 2022.
The amended agreement provides for 16 launches, placing another 34-36 satellites per launch into the constellation.
OneWeb’s return-to-flight launch in December will increase the in-orbit fleet to 110 satellites, with the company planning to commence initial commercial services by the end of 2021 in regions including the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic seas and Canada.
OneWeb notes that this amended launch agreement remains subject to confirmation and consummation of the company’s Chapter 11 restructuring plan and completion of the bankruptcy sale that was first announced in July.
The company says that it expects that deal to close in Q4 2020, subject to court approval and regulatory agreement.