OneWeb has announced the successful launch of another 36 satellites to mark the completion of its ‘Five to 50’ mission. With the milestone reached, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company is ready to deliver connectivity across the United Kingdom, Canada, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, and the Arctic Region.
The latest launch takes OneWeb’s in-orbit constellation to 254 satellites, or 40 per cent of OneWeb’s planned fleet of 648 LEO satellites which will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity. OneWeb intends to make global service available in 2022.
Service demonstrations will begin this summer in key locations including Alaska and Canada as OneWeb prepares for commercial service in the next six months. The company has already announced distribution partnerships for its enterprise-grade connectivity services across several industries and businesses including BT, ROCK Network, AST Group, PDI, Alaska Communications and others, as it expands its global capabilities. OneWeb continues to engage with telecommunications providers, ISPs, and governments worldwide to offer its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services and sees growing demand for new solutions to connect hard to reach places.
Satellites will improve communication in remotest parts of UK
The launch of the latest 36 satellites was conducted by Arianespace, lifting off from the Vostochny Cosmodrom on July 1. 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.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This latest launch of OneWeb satellites will put high-speed broadband within reach of the whole Northern Hemisphere later this year, including improving connectivity in the remotest parts of the UK.”
“Backed by the British Government, OneWeb proves what is possible when public and private investment come together, putting the UK at the forefront of the latest technologies, opening up new markets, and ultimately transforming the lives of people around the world.”
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, Executive Chairman of OneWeb, said: “Yesterday’s momentous milestone demonstrates that OneWeb is now a leader in LEO broadband connectivity, serving a wide range of stakeholders across the Northern Hemisphere. This fifth launch amid the unprecedented global pandemic is truly remarkable and I congratulate the management team and fellow shareholders on the success.
“Bharti’s doubling of its investment earlier this week is testament to the commitment to OneWeb’s mission. We now look forward to the next chapter in OneWeb’s story, preparing the company for commercial service in the less than six months to deliver our global connectivity solutions to communities around the world.”
Network will scale over coming months
Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, said: “This is a truly historic moment for OneWeb, the culmination of months of positive momentum in our ‘Five to 50’ programme, increased investment from our global partners and the rapid onboarding of new customers. We are incredibly excited to start delivering high-speed, low-latency connectivity first to the UK and the Arctic region and to see our network scale over the coming months as we continue building to global service. Thanks to all our incredible partners who have been with us on this journey and are instrumental to making OneWeb’s mission a success.”