OneWeb has confirmed the successful launch of 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, bringing its total in-orbit constellation to 182 satellites.
This launch brings the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company a step closer to its ‘Five to 50’ ambition, which enables the start of commercial service by the end of the year. 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.
The satellites 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 per cent of the constellation required to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021.
Services will be switched on before end of 2021
The latest launch 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, which will be switched on before the end of the year. OneWeb then intends to make global service available in 2022.
Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO said: “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 added: “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.”