An Arianespace Soyuz rocket successfully placed 36 OneWeb satellites into orbit, and OneWeb says that contact has been made with each satellite and that they are healthy.
The launch took place from Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome on April 25th at 23.14 BST. It took almost four hours to dispense the satellites in nine batches.
The success means that OneWeb now has 182 satellites in orbit. These will form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity, and represents 60 per cent of the constellation required to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021.
This is the third in a five-launch ‘Five to 50’ programme, enabling OneWeb to offer services across the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas and Canada, and will be switched on before the end of 2021. OneWeb then intends to make global service available in 2022.
Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO commented: “These are exciting times at OneWeb as we get ever closer to bringing our connectivity services to some of the world’s hardest to reach places. With this third successful launch in our ‘Five to 50’ programme, we are rapidly building momentum: we are launching more satellites, demonstrating the network, and announcing more distribution signings around the globe. We have a world class team and product, and alongside our supportive shareholders, OneWeb continues to work towards bringing connectivity to everyone, everywhere.”