OneWeb gets first satellite to orbit
May 7, 2019
By Chris Forrester
OneWeb launched six pilot satellites into a transfer orbit on February 27th. It has now confirmed that the first of that batch has now reached its designated position.
OneWeb is planning to place a total of 648 satellites, each weighing about 150 kgs, into Low Earth orbit (LEO) and using at least 20 Russian-built Soyuz rockets to place the craft into orbit over the next couple of years.
This first batch of satellites were built by Airbus at its Toulouse, France facility. But OneWeb (and Airbus) are now mass-producing satellites from their new joint-venture Florida factory.
On April 24th CEO Adrian Steckel said that the first important stage is to start launching batches of LEO satellites at a rate of about 35 a month, every month, from this coming December. It will take 20 launches to achieve that target.
Steckel told the newspaper that he was in Australia to secure co-operation from two Earth Aussie stations (needed to relay consumer traffic into and from the Web). Steckel added that these LEO-based services would be complementary to fibre and other ground-based delivery technologies.
“And we’re all about broadening the use case of satellites. We see a future where you have flat panel antennas in a car, on a train, on a plane and on a boat that are inexpensive, and allow you to get quality broadband at speed,” said Steckel.