OneWeb, a low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications (satcom) company in India, has just announced that it has partnered with New Space India Limited to launch satellites starting in 2022 (anticipated time). New Space India Limited is the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). New Space India will ensure that OneWeb stays on track with its goal to build a global constellation of satellites to provide broadband services.
First Launch Anticipated in 2022 from the SDSC
OneWeb said that the first launch with the New Space India is anticipated in 2022 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. OneWeb has already built an in-orbit constellation of 428 satellites, 66% of its planned total fleet. The new launches from the SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota, will add to the existing fleet of the company.
OneWeb Executive Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal, said this agreement on launch plans would add considerable momentum to the development of OneWeb’s network.
It is worth noting that OneWeb had also signed an agreement with SpaceX to enable the company to launch satellites. The company said that other terms of the agreement with New Space India are confidential.
OneWeb, along with multiple other satcom companies, including SpaceX, Amazon’s Project Kuiper and more, are expected to provide services in India in 2022. The commercial launch of the services is still a little far because the spectrum auction is yet to take place. There are some uncertainties revolving around the spectrum auction as well.
The satcom companies want spectrum to be reserved for satellite broadband services in the 28 GHz band. But the telcos are against this notion and what will really happen is unclear. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) hasn’t talked about any reservation of airwaves for the satcom players in its recommendations. Thus, it is most likely going to be that way to ensure a level playing field for all the communication services providers (CSPs).