A consortium of UK Government (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global, has invested $1bn of new equity to offer broadband connectivity services, via a constellation of 650 LEO satellites.
OneWeb will continue to be headquartered in the UK, bringing new R&D programmes, manufacturing opportunities and a global platform with priority spectrum usage rights. The company will ensure that the UK is at the forefront of a new commercial space industrial age, evolving technology and innovation, and will work with the UK commercial and academic space communities, along with other international specialists, in its research and development activities.
OneWeb has set a target date of December 17, 2020 for its Return to Flight, with a 36-satellite payload scheduled for launch by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. All the satellites have been shipped from Florida to Vostochny and are now undergoing preparation for launch.
Due to investment decisions made by the new shareholders, the joint venture facility with Airbus in Florida, USA was re-activated and the dual production lines brought back into service.
Launches will continue throughout 2021 and 2022 and OneWeb is now on track to begin commercial connectivity services to the UK and the Arctic region in late 2021 and will expand to delivering global services in 2022.
In connection with completion of the restructuring process, OneWeb has announced that Neil Masterson has been appointed CEO. Neil is formerly co-chief operating officer at Thomson Reuters having enjoyed a 20-year career with the global provider of news, information, and software.
He succeeds Adrian Steckel, who continues as an Adviser to the Board.
Neil Masterson said: “I am looking forward to helping the OneWeb team deliver and commercialise their vision to provide internet access across the globe. OneWeb has a strong social purpose to improve the world’s access to information, which I share. It has great talent, a compelling commercial opportunity, and is supported by committed and knowledgeable owners and investors.
“Our December launch puts the UK firmly in the global space business, alongside acknowledged Indian telecoms experts, Bharti Global. OneWeb will be a model for responsible co-operation in Space.”