OneWeb is Filing for Bankruptcy

danielravennest

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Bartholomew Gallacher

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As we all know there are now quite some competing satellite based positioning systems being available: GPS, Glonass, Baidu and the EU is working on Galileo. Galileo is more something of industrial development really then being able to have your own system somewhere.

With hard Brexit around the corner the UK will not have any say any longer in Galileo, nor will it get money out of it. So the UK now sees the need to have its own satellite positioning system, like the rest of the biggies around.

So what comes more naturally than PM Boris Johnson buying a big stake of over 400 million GBP in the bankrupt OneWeb legacy? This company already has 74 satellites in orbit, which sounds like a good starting point.

The only, tiny problem is that the OneWeb satellites are in 1000 km orbit, while all real satellites for GPS and so on are in an 20000 km orbit for good reasons. OneWeb satellites instead were build to provide wireless internet access in rural areas, and they might be too small for the intended purpose as well.

So the UK paid good money for a bunch of satellites they quite sure can never use for the intended purpose. Bummer.

“The fundamental starting point is, yes, we’ve bought the wrong satellites,” said Dr Bleddyn Bowen, a space policy expert at the University of Leicester. “OneWeb is working on basically the same idea as Elon Musk’s Starlink: a mega-constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit, which are used to connect people on the ground to the internet.

“What’s happened is that the very talented lobbyists at OneWeb have convinced the government that we can completely redesign some of the satellites to piggyback a navigation payload on it. It’s bolting an unproven technology on to a mega-constellation that’s designed to do something else. It’s a tech and business gamble.”


 
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Sid

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C'mon, Britannia rules the waves, why not the 1000 km orbit?
They can always send a chap or two up to rewire things or something.
It will be as easy as getting Brexit done.
 
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