The launch of the Russian Soyuz rocket, originally scheduled for the night of March 4-5, will not take place. 36 satellites of the OneWeb constellation, which were supposed to go into space, will be unloaded from the launch vehicle! We are talking about the requirements of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, which OneWeb rightly refused, preferring to suspend all its launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. A situation that can turn against the historical Russian launcher!
International space cooperation has always been a neutral ground, despite the geopolitical and political conflicts and tensions that have engulfed the world over the past thirty years, but that was the end of it. Russia blew it up by deciding to stop partnership and cooperation in the space sphere with all countries that imposed sanctions against it after declaring war on Ukraine.
Destruction of the Ukrainian space industry, suspension of rocket launchesfrom Guyana, end of shared experience with Germany on board suspension of participation to the Venera-D mission ( ), and yesterday OneWeb announced the suspension of the launch of its constellation satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. An operator that sets up one of the largest constellations to provide over the entire surface of the globe made a decision that was necessary in connection with the requirements of Roskosmos. Its director ordered the British government to step down from OneWeb’s board of directors and not use the constellation for military purposes.
#Russia removes the flags of countries, including the US, UK, Japan, participating in the space program, from the rocket they launch, except for the flag of India.#Roskosmos the chief said – ‘our rocket would have looked more beautiful without the flags of some countries’#russianspic.twitter.com/M2FlMq01bx
— Antriksha Rai (@AntrikshaRai) March 3, 2022
After the suspension of the operation of the Soyuz from Guyana, OneWeb believes that its satellites are grounded, and the goal is to commission its constellation by the end of the year and fly away. At the moment, only 428 satellites are inwhich is not enough to provide a sufficiently attractive commercial service.
Ariane 6 and Vega-C launch date unknown
Arianespace, which sellsSoyuz internationally and signed launch contracts with OneWeb is expected. It doesn’t have an alternative launcher that OneWeb could offer to fulfill its contracts! last five already implemented, and while Cnes stresses that “ imminent arrival of new Vega-C launchers and on the market allows for the postponement of European institutional launches ”, commissioning date is still very uncertain and the pace of its expected launches will clearly not be able to compensate for the loss of use of the Soyuz, whether from Guyana or Baikonur. Regarding commissioning replacing Vega, you should know that the engines of the fourth stage PU Vega and Vega S (Avum) are produced by Ukraine at facilities located in the city of Dnepr bombed by Russians!
Soyuz limited to Russian launches
Undoubtedly for OneWeb and, it’s a hit. But, surprisingly, for the “Union”. Of course, Moscow can rejoice in the fact that it plucked access to space for a few months, but the future of its historic launch vehicle in overseas commercial markets is close to zero. The only foreign commercial contracts signed with Arianespace support it. Lost trust is unlikely to be restored tomorrow as long as Vladimir Putin and his government remain in power. And it will be difficult for Roscosmos to sell it to countries that support or refrain from condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine – such as China and India, for example, which have a fleet of launchers to cover their needs, or countries that have none or very few satellites. for start.