In what appears to be payback for Britain and its NATO allies sanctioning Moscow, the Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS today cancelled the launch of British OneWeb satellites abroad the Soyuz-2.1b rocket.

This is perhaps the first time in history that the impact of war on earth has been felt in space.

ROSCOSMOS demanded two conditions to continue with the launch- legal guarantees that OneWeb will not use satellites for military purposes and the withdrawal of the UK government from its shareholders. Apparently, these conditions were not met which led to the cancellation.

Russian government-owned media reported that ROSCOSMOS chief Dmitry Rogozin ordered the cancellation due to the “unbridled campaign that the British side is currently conducting.”

“Preparations for launch should be stopped, the rocket removed from the launch complex, returned to the technical complex, spacecraft placed in the assembly and testing complex for conservation,” RIA Novosti quoted Rogozin as saying at a meeting of the state commission to decide on the start of rocket refuelling.

Russia has also said that the sanctions by the U.S. and European nations – imposed for its invasion of Ukraine – could result in a crash of the International Space Station (ISS).

Rogozin had posted a video on Wednesday showing workers at the Baikonur launch pad covering up the flags of U.S., Japan and UK on the OneWeb rocket which was scheduled to be launched on March 4. Only the flag of India was left intact. The launchers at the Baikonur launch pad were seen pasting white vinyl on the flags on the Soyuz rocket, covering them completely.

The Soyuz rocket is carrying 36 satellites from various countries which will provide broadband Internet connectivity under the OneWeb project. The project aims to launch 648 satellites into orbit, and 428 of them already have been launched, all of them using the Soyuz vehicle. Bharti Airtel group and the UK government are the owners of the project.