OneWeb has successfully added 36 new LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites to its constellation.
With the UK not set to bring its vertical space launch capabilities online until next year, the British satellite operator turned to NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) to conduct the launches from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India.
Radhakrishnan D, Chairman-cum-Managing Director at NewSpace India Limited, said:
“The successful launch of 36 OneWeb satellites via the GSLV-MkIII from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre is a historic moment for NSIL and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).
We worked closely with the OneWeb team to support this milestone launch, which has been accomplished in a record time of a few months, while also illustrating the opportunities for satellite connectivity in India.
We look forward to strengthening our partnership with OneWeb and utilising the potential that LEO connectivity has to deliver broadband services across India.”
The lift-off took place on Sunday, 23rd October 2022 at 00.07hrs local time. OneWeb’s satellites were dispensed in nine phases over a period of 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Executive Chairman of OneWeb, commented: “Today’s launch is a significant milestone for OneWeb. This new phase of our launch programme from India brings us a step closer to not only enhancing our global coverage but also delivering connectivity in India and South Asia, particularly to the communities who need it most.”
OneWeb’s constellation is now up to 462 satellites, 70 percent of its planned LEO satellite fleet, and is on track to activate global coverage in 2023.
In March, a planned launch of OneWeb’s satellites was put on hold after Russian space agency Roscosmos refused to proceed unless the British government sold its stake in the firm and the company guaranteed they will not be used for military purposes.
Neil Masterson, Chief Executive of OneWeb, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to resume OneWeb’s launch programme. This launch was made possible thanks to the hard work by our team and our partners at ISRO and NSIL, as well as shareholder Bharti Global.
“The spirit of collaboration exemplified by this international effort is at the core of our strategy to scale up our global coverage network. At OneWeb, we remain laser-focused on removing barriers to connectivity, ensuring that we deliver for communities and customers globally.”
(Image Credit: ISRO-NSIL)
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