Russia refuses to launch UK’s OneWeb satellites unless demands are met

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Roscosmos will not launch three dozen OneWeb internet satellites as planned on Friday (March 4) unless the company meets new demands, the Russian space agency announced today (March 2).

This morning, Roscosmos rolled a Soyuz rocket out to the launch pad at the Russia-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying 36 satellites for the London-based company OneWeb. Shortly after the rollout, Roscosmos Director-General Dmitry Rogozin made an online statement that the agency will not launch the satellites as planned if the company does not guarantee that the craft will not be used for military purposes. 

And Roscosmos further demanded that the United Kingdom government remove its investment in the company as another condition for launch. (The UK government helped buy OneWeb out of bankruptcy in late 2020.)