AP

SpaceX gives rival’s internet satellites ride to orbit

Dec 8, 2022, 12:56 AM | Updated: Dec 12, 2022, 6:04 am

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with a payload of 40 satellites for OneWeb broadband communications, lift...

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with a payload of 40 satellites for OneWeb broadband communications, lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX launched internet satellites for a competitor Thursday, stepping in to help after the London-based OneWeb company halted its flights with Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

The Falcon rocket blasted off at sunset with 40 mini satellites bound for polar orbit. They will expand OneWeb’s constellation to just over 500, nearly 80% of the planned total of about 630 satellites.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has more than 3,200 Starlink satellites in orbit, providing high-speed, broadband internet to remote corners of the world. Amazon plans to launch the first of its internet satellites early next year from Cape Canaveral.

With the market for global internet service “growing exponentially,” there’s room for everyone, said Massimiliano Ladovaz, OneWeb’s chief technology officer.

SpaceX agreed to launch satellites for OneWeb after the British company broke ties with Russia in March. Russian Soyuz rockets already had launched 13 batches of OneWeb satellites, beginning in 2019.

India picked up the slack in October, sending up a batch of OneWeb satellites.

Although there were other launch options, SpaceX and India offered the fastest and best combination, Ladovaz said shortly before liftoff.

Two more SpaceX launches and one more by India are planned for OneWeb in the next several months to complete the company’s orbiting constellation by spring. OneWeb already is providing internet service in Alaska, Canada and northern Europe; the newest satellites will increase the range to the entire U.S. and Europe, as well as large parts of Africa and South America, and elsewhere, according to Ladovaz.

OneWeb satellites — each about the size of a washing machine and weighing 330 pounds (150 kilograms) — are built at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center through a joint venture with France’s Airbus.

Thursday’s launch occurred just several miles away from the same pad where Apollo astronauts blasted off for the moon, the last time on Dec. 7, 1972.

__

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

14 hours ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

2 days ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

2 days ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

3 days ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

3 days ago

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zele...

Associated Press

Ukraine uses US weapons to strike inside Russia, a Western official tells AP

Ukraine has used U.S weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a Western official familiar with the matter told the AP.

9 days ago

SpaceX gives rival’s internet satellites ride to orbit