OneWeb has added an additional 34 satellites to its constellation despite looming financial worries that could bankrupt the company.
OneWeb announced on Saturday the successful launch of 34 more satellites, the second batch in six weeks, a pace the company attributes to a high-volume production factory in Florida.
This follows a report from Thursday by Bloomberg that OneWeb, which has almost $3 billion in investment from SoftBank over its past two rounds, is considering filing for bankruptcy protection as one possible way to deal with a crunch in its available cash. OneWeb did not comment on the reported bankruptcy consideration.
This launch brings the total number of satellites in the constellation to 74, further solidifying OneWeb's position as a leading global communications company. On top of this, OneWeb's press release states that it has, "now successfully deployed and tested satellites, installed ground stations globally, secured valuable spectrum and has a range of user terminals in development to meet customer needs".
Satellite operator OneWeb has confirmed that its workforce has been reduced via layoffs, after TechCrunch learned that it reduced its workforce by as much as 10% this week.
"The crisis has demonstrated the imperative need for connectivity everywhere and has exposed urgent shortcomings in many organisations' connectivity capabilities", said Steckel. And many more missions are coming: The company, which has headquarters in London and Virginia, intends to build an initial network of 650 satellites, which will provide internet service to people around the world. "Our satellite network is poised to fill in many of these critical gaps in the global communications infrastructure".
The company is reportedly considering seeking court protection even as it continues to review possible out-of-court alternatives, Bloomberg reported its sources as saying. OneWeb had previously raised a total of $3.4 billion (£2.63bn) in private funding in March 2019, but that may not be enough. "In this vein, I hope that some strategic players with money - and I could think of a few - will take a look at OneWeb, if the company indeed finds itself in a tough spot".
The Fregat booster with 34 satellites separated from the rocket minutes after the launch, according to the broadcast. It faces competition from companies like SpaceX, which has launched 302 Starlink satellites for its own network to date, and Amazon, He hasn't launched any spacecraft yet, but is planning a similar offering under his own Kuiper Project.