Roscosmos has announced that it is holding the OneWeb satellites, expected to launch this coming Friday, to ransom. The head of the Russian Space Agency, Dmitry Rogozin, has announced that OneWeb needs to guarantee that the satellites won’t be used for military purposes and that the British Government, the major investor in the satellite internet company, needs to withdraw from it.
This is just one of the several escalations from Roscosmos and Rogozin over the last few days, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As NASA stated that International cooperation in space was business as usual, Rogozin threatened to pull Russia out of the International Space Station (ISS), a move he claimed would end up with the inability of keeping the ISS up in space.
Roscosmos also moved its personnel and equipment out of Kourou, in French Guyana, the location of the European Space Port. The escalating situation is likely going to delay the launch of the Rosalind Franklin rover towards Mars.
OneWeb is constructing a constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit to deliver internet via space. It has so far launched 428 satellites in batches of either 34 or 36. They have all been launched on Soyuz rockets.