Speedy OneWeb launch to protect antelopes

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OneWeb is on schedule to launch a cluster of another 34 satellites as part of its drive to place almost 700 craft into orbit for its broadband mega-constellation.

The launch will take place on March 21st from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.  But key to the speedy launch is that the Baikonur site goes into summer mode on March 25th until late August in order to protect herds of antelope.

The last OneWeb launch was on February 7th and the operator said that the company was on schedule to provide global coverage to customers in 2021, and for services to start over the Arctic region later this year.

The concern over antelope comes following a “mass death” of Saiga antelope in 2015 when a reported “near-200,000” animals died from a bacterial infection with some blaming poisoning by toxic rocket fuel from the Baikonur cosmodrome.

The Baikonur cosmodrome is leased by Russia from the Kazakh government until 2050.


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