MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. The British government must quit shareholders of the UK-based company OneWeb for the launch of the company’s communications satellites atop a Russian Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket on March 5, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Owing to Great Britain’s hostile attitude towards Russia, the British government’s withdrawal from OneWeb’s shareholders is yet another condition for the launch of satellites on March 5," the statement reads.
The refusal to launch the satellites will cause no economic damage because the work on creating rockets and boosters has already been paid for, Roscosmos emphasized.
"The satellites located at the Baikonur spaceport will remain there until the situation is resolved," the Russian space agency said.
No other vehicles for orbiting satellites of the OneWeb orbital cluster are envisaged in the near term. The Russian side is ready to fulfil its commitments given that the foreign customer provides legal guarantees, the statement says.
If necessary, the Soyuz rocket can be used for another launch. If it is removed from the launch pad, this will entail no consequences, Roscosmos said.
"The chemical current sources of the Fregat booster are charged until the end of April 2022 and the calibration of the control system allows using it until May. The Fregat thruster is filled with propellant components and can be used until August 10 this year," the space agency added.
Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said earlier on Wednesday that the Russian space agency would not launch the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with British OneWeb satellites, if it received no guarantees before the evening of March 4 that they would be used only for civilian purposes.
The launch of the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with OneWeb satellites is scheduled for 01:41 Moscow time on March 5.
British OneWeb low-orbit satellites are designed to create a space-based communications system to provide high-speed Internet access in any locality worldwide. All of OneWeb satellites were orbited by Russian Soyuz carrier rockets.