Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, OneWeb, has confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, bringing it a step closer to its Five to 50 ambition, which enables the start of commercial service by the end of the year.
Launch from Vostochny Cosmodrome; Right - Lift off
Photo image courtesy Roscosmos.ru
Lift-off occurred on 26th April at 23:14 BST. OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches over a period of 3 hours 52 minutes with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.
This successful launch brings its total in-orbit constellation to 182 satellites. These will form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity, including commercial inflight applications and represents 60 percent 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 United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas and Canada, and will be switched on before the end of the year. 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 ‘5 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.”
Ben Griffin, OneWeb VP Mobility commented: “This is a great milestone for OneWeb as we advance to realise our long-held ambitions for OneWeb Aviation. Airline start-ups and established carriers who currently don’t have IFE are exploring options as they build after the pandemic. The interest we are garnering is remarkable.”