OneWeb's Soyuz-2 launch vehicles repurposed by Roscosmos
The Soyuz-2 launch vehicles withdrawn from OneWeb's launch projects, will be used for other satellite launches this year.
The update was given by Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin on Tuesday – around the same time he was arguing with former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly on Twitter about ongoing ISS collaborations.
On the use of Soyuz-2 launch vehicles, Rogozin said on a Telegram channel on Tuesday: "Dozens of private communication, meteorological observation and Earth distance sensing spacecraft manufactured in Russia will be sent to target orbits before the end of this year.
"The Soyuz-2 launch vehicles we have withdrawn from the project to launch the British satellite system OneWeb will be used for that."
Russian private space companies will receive "unprecedented support" from Roscosmos, including "access to new domestic developments in the sphere of space equipment engineering" and "spacecraft created by private design bureaus and start-ups delivered to the orbit practically for free," Rogozin said.
"Mikhail Khailov, deputy general director for the development of the orbital group at Roscosmos, has received my order to take exhaustive measures to support our private space companies," he continued.
OneWeb had booked the Baikonur cosmodrome, owned by Roscosmos, for all its launches this year, with plans to use Russian-built Soyuz rockets under Ariane control.
As Capacity reported on 25 February, OneWeb’s 14th launch – due to add 36 new satellites to the company’s fleet – was due to take place from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on 2 March. It then cancelled all future launches from the location.