OneWeb Delays Launch of Satellites Over Problems With Russian Carrier - Chairman

© Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev / Go to the mediabankA Soyuz-FG rocket launches the Soyuz-MS-07 manned spacecraft from the Baikonur Space Center
A Soyuz-FG rocket launches the Soyuz-MS-07 manned spacecraft from the Baikonur Space Center - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The launch of OneWeb communications satellites from the Kourou space centre in French Guiana, planned for February 20, has been delayed due to problems with the equipment from the Russian carrier, Greg Wyler, the chairman of OneWeb, said.

"It’s true, there is an anomaly on the rocket which will cause us to push out the launch. Our satellites are fine and ready to go"! Wyler tweeted.

The statement comes after Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos told Sputnik on 30 January that preparations for the launch of OneWeb communications satellites from the Kourou space centre in French Guiana were proceeding normally, and the detected flaws would be repaired before the launch. 

Sources in Russia's space industry earlier told Sputnik that a seam rupture in a pipeline that supplies helium to fuel tanks of the Fregat booster on the Soyuz-ST carrier rocket, which is scheduled to put the first test satellites of the UK's OneWeb constellation into orbit, had been detected during pre-launch preparations.

READ MORE: Two Soyuz Launches With UK Satellites Planned For 1st Quarter of 2019 — Source

In total, according to OneWeb Founder and Executive Chairman Greg Wyler, the company plans to put nearly 2,000 satellites into orbit to provide global broadband internet access, but 600 will be enough at the first stage.

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In June 2015, Roscosmos inked a deal with OneWeb and French company Arianespace for 21 commercial launches of 672 satellites on Soyuz launch vehicles with Fregat boosters from the Kourou, Baikonur and Vostochny spaceports. The developer and manufacturer of the Soyuz rockets are Samara-based RSC Progress. The Fregat booster is manufactured by Khimki-based NPO Lavochkin.

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.

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