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OneWeb To Face Another Setback Due To “Microhole” Issue

On the one hand, the estimated OneWeb mega-constellation of about 648 satellites is making significant progress. Greg Wyler, Founder, OneWeb, posted on Twitter that, at present, two of the firm’s six first crafts are in place to lift-off rocket’s automatic dispenser. But, according to last week’s report, a “microhole” issue was detected on a section of the Russian rocket. At the time, it was considered that specialists from Russia’s Soyuz rocket industry, who work at the Arianespace launch site, Kourou, French Guiana are working on the issue.

However, at present, there is uncertainty, with Russia’s Sputnik news organization reporting that Arianespace, which is responsible for the launch, has not acknowledged the proposal by the Russian Lavochkin Research and Production Association. Reportedly, this proposal includes “patching up” the hole in the pipeline. This pipeline is responsible for supplying helium to Fregat booster’s fuel tanks on the Soyuz-ST carrier rocket. As per the reports, this rocket is situated at the Kourou space center.

On a similar note, OneWeb Satellites, a partnership between OneWeb and Airbus, performed the foremost delivery of the initial satellites for the OneWeb constellation. Now, OneWeb Satellites will shift its spotlight toward ramping up the creation of a complete constellation of satellites in its novel plant in Florida.

The production of these satellites was carried out at the OneWeb Satellites plant on the Airbus Defense and Space Toulouse site. The initial six satellites have been transported to Kourou for launch. The foremost departure of the mega constellation is lined up for February 19, 2019, on a Soyuz rocket, the starting of a long chain. The Toulouse OneWeb Satellites plant is being employed to certify the manufacturing methods essential to produce these satellites at scale, lay the framework for the bigger multi-line OneWeb Satellites plant close to the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and de-risk any potential issues.