To quote Scott Manley "if only politics was as simple as rocket science"
The joint ESA-Roscosmos Mars rover Rosalind Franklin is "very unlikely" to launch this year after Russia was hit with fresh economic sanctions for invading Ukraine. Following a meeting with its 22 member states, the European Space Agency confirmed on Monday it was "fully implementing sanctions imposed on Russia." "We deplore …
well given Roscosmos have issued among some new launch criteria that by itself could have scuppered a launch, that the UK government needs to drop out of Oneweb as a shareholder...I think we can put that in the definitely not happening launch bucket and all commercial Soyuz launches are pretty much over for the forseeable.
Not just U.K. government…..Eutelsat is also a shareholder, and they are part-owned by the French state (Caisse de Depots). But even if they weren’t, almost all sat comms firms have a substantial part of their revenue from governmental customers. Requiring them to drop a third of their business case just to launch one batch of satellites isn’t going to happen.
Roscosmos have already been paid, won’t refund, this is Russian state effective confiscation of an asset. Another reason why this is the end of Soyuz commercial ever: who will ever pay them money again? Plus Roscosmos have rather maliciously declared force majeure, which is very specifically designed that they hope Oneweb won’t get an insurance payout.
As well as Exomars Rover, the next four Galileo satellites were due to go on Soyuz.As was Earthcare, and Euclid infrared telescope. That’s assuming Ariane 6 is on time, otherwise there will be more even than that.
Exomars is the biggie though. The problem is that Russia is also responsible for the descent module, and the launch slots only come round every 26 months. To get someone else to design and test a descent module in 33 months is just not credible, which means a delay to January 2027. By that time, it’s really not clear that there will be any scientific value to launching it.