London-based communications company OneWeb has amended its existing launch contract with Arianespace. Launches for OneWeb are scheduled to resume in December this year, putting the 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 with Arianespace provides for 16 launches placing another 34-36 satellites per launch into OneWeb’s growing constellation. OneWeb’s return-to-flight launch in December will increase OneWeb’s in-orbit fleet to 110 satellites.
OneWeb plans to commence commercial services by the end of 2021. Initial regions will include the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic seas and Canada.
This amended agreement, which remains subject to confirmation and consummation of OneWeb’s restructuring plan, is an important milestone for OneWeb as it plans to emerge from the Chapter 11, with HM Government and Bharti Global as the prevailing bidders in OneWeb’s bankruptcy sale process. It confirms that the company will be well-placed to offer enterprise-grade connectivity services for communities, businesses, and governments in a short timeframe.
OneWeb Satellites, OneWeb’s joint venture with Airbus, is responsible for manufacturing the satellites and is ramping up the pace of production and execution to meet the upcoming launch schedule.
OneWeb anticipates the closing of the planned sale of the company in Q4 2020, subject to confirmation and consummation of OneWeb’s restructuring plan, court approval and regulatory consents.