Bharti Global-backed OneWeb, which is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications operator, has launched its next batch of 36 satellites. The satellites were launched by Arianespace from the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia.
With the latest launch, OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation stands at 218 satellites. These would be a part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will look to deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity by next year.
The launch represents the fourth in a five-launch programme that looks to fulfil the ‘Five to 50’ service, which will enable OneWeb to offer connectivity across the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, the Arctic Seas and Canada. The company expects the service to be switched on before the end of the year.
OneWeb plans to make global services available in 2022. The latest launch comes just a month after OneWeb announced plans to raise $550 million (Rs 4,103 crore) by selling a 24 percent stake to Eutelsat Communications. The company’s total funding now stands at $1.9 billion which will help the company in launching a first-generation fleet of 648 satellites next year.
“Today’s successful launch is another execution milestone that puts us one launch away from delivering high speed, low latency connectivity to Alaska, Canada, Greenland, UK, and Northern Europe. Today we celebrate and thank our Florida team for their hard work and dedication that has delivered more than 200 satellites to orbit. Collaboration and teamwork are vital for OneWeb’s mission to succeed” Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, said while commenting on the launch.
The satellites are built by OneWeb Satellites which is a OneWeb and Airbus joint venture facility in Florida that can produce two satellites a day.