A Russian Soyuz 2.1b rocket safely delivered 36 OneWeb broadband satellites into orbit on Friday evening, May 28th.
The launch was managed by Arianespace. “The launch went according to plan,” Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Roscosmos space agency, said on messaging app Telegram. They were orbited from Russia’s Vostochny launch site.
While the launch was of 36 satellites, the craft are freed from the rocket in four distinct batches over a four-hour period. The satellites will eventually operate from 1,200 kms.
This was the seventh launch for OneWeb and takes the overall total of satellites in orbit to 218 craft. OneWeb needs 648 satellites to form a complete global system, although initial services will commence later in 2021 to the northern hemisphere and regions north of 50 degrees latitude.
However, to begin that limited service, OneWeb needs another batch of 36 to be launched.