Mar 28, 2020 - Science

OneWeb files for bankruptcy amid coronavirus pandemic

Miriam Kramer, author of Space

Earth seen from orbit at night. Photo: NASA

OneWeb — a company that planned to bring high-speed internet to unconnected people around the world — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday.

Why it matters: OneWeb was a frontrunner in the increasingly competitive race to beam back high-speed broadband from space using large constellations of small satellites in low orbits.

Details: The company is planning to use the bankruptcy to pursue a sale, a statement from OneWeb reads.

  • According OneWeb, the company had a difficult time securing funding in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • "Our current situation is a consequence of the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis," OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said in the statement. "We remain convinced of the social and economic value of our mission to connect everyone everywhere. Today is a difficult day for us at OneWeb."
  • OneWeb — which has launched 74 satellites — sent its last batch of spacecraft to orbit on March 21.

The big picture: OneWeb's exit leaves SpaceX's Starlink constellation as the clear frontrunner in this portion of the space industry, with Amazon's Kuiper also on the horizon.

  • These companies think that constellations of small satellites could blanket the globe with internet, bringing millions of people online that currently have little or no access to high-speed internet.
  • Others worry that these large batches of satellites could clutter up space and even impair astronomers' ability to study the cosmos.

Go deeper: Bezos vs. Musk 2.0

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Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.