Main Engine Cut Off

OneWeb Can’t Raise Money, Blames the Pandemic, Files for Bankruptcy

The week of terrible space news continues. Caleb Henry, for SpaceNews:

Satellite internet startup OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday after its largest investor, Softbank, rejected a request for additional funding.

OneWeb, in its March 27 news release, blamed the coronavirus pandemic for its inability to raise the money it needed to avoid bankruptcy.

I’m still sick of blaming the pandemic for issues that have been simmering on the horizon for a while now.

Where OneWeb goes from here is going to be a hell of a story. By some estimates, they need at least $4 billion to finish off their constellation.

There are some big money companies out there who have that sort of cash under their mattresses and have been working on constellations (Amazon’s Project Kuiper) or have been rumored to be interested in such a thing (Apple). In the case of Amazon, they’re still in need of spectrum, so this could be an easy pickup.

There are some out there who see SpaceX in serious need of funding, too, in excess of what they’ve been raising already. What Musk said a few weeks back during a nearly unwatchable interview at Satellite 2020 sounds even more prescient now: he just wants SpaceX to be in the “not bankrupt” category.

The way Caleb finishes off his article is worth remembering:

Iridium, Globalstar, Orbcomm and Teledesic all went bankrupt about two decades ago, though only Teledesic failed to emerge from bankruptcy and deploy a second-generation constellation.