Soyuz-2.1b rocket with OneWeb satellites dismantled at Baikonur
Roscosmos, Russia's state-owned space corporation, has canceled the launch of British communications satellites scheduled for Saturday earlier in the day.
A source told Sputnik on Friday that the Soyuz-2.1b rocket carrying new communication satellites from the UK-based OneWeb corporation is being removed from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome.
The launch of British communications satellites slated for Saturday had been canceled earlier in the day by Russia's state-owned space corporation Roscosmos.
"After the rocket is removed from the launch pad, it will be transported to the assembly and test building of site 31, where the payload with satellites will be undocked from the rocket," the source said.
Following the cancellation of OneWeb satellite launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome, French launch operator Arianespace declared on Friday that it is in communication with its clients and government authorities in France and Europe to identify alternative solutions.
"Regarding ST38 for OneWeb from Baikonur, it has been postponed indefinitely following the conditions posed by Roscosmos to proceed. Arianespace will work with its partners to ensure the well-being of the goods and means currently in Baikonur. Arianespace is in close contact with its customers and French and European authorities to best assess all the consequences of this situation and develop alternative solutions," the company said in a statement.
Roscosmos requested OneWeb on Wednesday to offer an assurance that its satellites would not be used for military purposes and to remove the UK government from the company's shareholders before the evening of March 4, or the launch of the Soyuz-2.1b rocket with additional OneWeb satellites will be canceled.
The launch had been canceled earlier in the day on Friday.