OneWeb, a global communications company that provides broadband satellite Internet services around the world, has announced another successful launch of 36 Arianespace satellites from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. With this launch, the company gets closer to reaching their “Five to 50” goal and the lift off of commercial services by the end of this year.
The launch took place on May 28th at 18:38 BST. The OneWeb satellites detached from their host rocket and were distributed in nine clusters over 3 hours and 52 minutes. Signals were received from all 36 satellites, indicating their operational status. This launch is the fourth in a series of five total launches needed to complete the “Five to 50” program. The program will allow OneWeb to offer connectivity in all parts of the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada. The service is predicted to be available by the end of the year, and OneWeb plans to expand this service globally in 2022.
The Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are built by OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus located on Merritt Island, Florida. This initiative can produce two satellites daily, taking advantage of an innovative production line process.
OneWeb Satellites CEO James Hinds commented: “Today’s successful launch highlights the great industrial partnership we have with OneWeb and Airbus. With more than 200 satellites built in our factory, we are extremely proud of our team’s high-quality and fast production of satellites.”
With this successful launch, the company has a total of 218 satellites in orbit that will be part of the OneWeb 648 LEO satellite fleet, which will provide fast, low-latency connectivity around the world. The company has only one more launch remaining before it has the full complement of satellites needed for its communications solution to provide connectivity services to all regions north of 50 degrees latitude.
Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, commented: “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.”