OneWeb, the popular Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company which is backed by the Bharti group confirmed on Saturday that it had successfully launched 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. In the words of the company, this launch brings OneWeb closer to completing its ambition of 'Five to 50' and the start of commercial service by the end of 2021.
With this successful launch, the total number of OneWeb's in-orbit constellations now stands at 218 satellites. All of them will combine to form a part of OneWeb's 648 LEO satellite fleet that will aim to provide high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.
As of now, there is one launch left until the company has the satellites that it needs to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions that are north of 50 degrees latitude by June of 2021.
What Do We Know About The Launch
The lift-off, which is one of the many recent ones to have taken place occurred on May 28 at 18:38 BST. OneWeb has stated that its satellites separated from the rocket and were then dispensed into nine batches over a duration of 3 hours and 52 minutes with signal acquisition having been confirmed on all 36 satellites.
This launch also plays a key role for the company as it represents the fourth of five planned launch programmes meant to fulfil the 'Five to 50' service that will enable OneWeb to offer connectivity across the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Canada, Greenland and the Arctic Seas. The service is expected to be switched on before the end of 2021, with the aim of making it globally available in 2022.
OneWeb's CEO, Mr Neil Masterson stated that today’s successful launch was another execution milestone that puts OneWeb one launch away from delivering high speed, low latency connectivity to places such as Alaska, Canada, Greenland, UK, and Northern Europe. Today OneWeb celebrates and thanks its Florida team for all of their hard work and dedication that has allowed them to deliver more than 200 satellites to orbit.
Collaboration and teamwork are vital when it comes to OneWeb’s mission to succeed. The company is grateful to all of its partners around the world who joined the company on our mission to deliver global connectivity, starting with everywhere 50 degrees north.
For those of you unaware, OneWeb's satellites are built by OneWeb Satellites, a company that is a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus located on Merritt Island, Florida, capable of producing two satellites each day via an innovative production-line process. Due to this advanced capability, the company is able to rapidly and reliably build its first-gen fleet meant to be in orbit by mid-2022.
James Hinds, the CEO of OneWeb Satellites was quite ecstatic stating that today’s successful launch has highlighted the great industrial partnership that OneWeb Satellites have with OneWeb and Airbus. With more than 200 satellites built in the factory, the company is extremely proud of the team’s high-quality, rapidly produced satellites.