Bharti Global and the UK-government led OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, on Friday announced the launch of 36 satellites from a Soyuz launch vehicle, which lifted off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia.
This brings the total in-orbit constellation to 110 satellites, part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity, said the company in a statement.
“Today’s launch is one of many steps we have taken to operationalise one of the world’s first LEO constellation which clearly demonstrates we are on our way to achieving our mission. Overall, there is an overwhelming demand for broadband and the pandemic has taxed infrastructure everywhere and many people worldwide are left with little to no options to access the Internet,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises.
OneWeb’s system will help meet future demand by delivering broadband connectivity to the communities, towns, regions left unconnected or under-connected, he said.
The launch puts OneWeb on track to offer global services to customers from late 2021, starting with the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas, and Canada, with global service in 2022.
OneWeb has secured global priority spectrum rights. With four successfully competed launches, the company aims to offer high-speed Internet from OneWeb satellites in India by mid-2022.
Less than a month since its acquisition by Bharti Global and the UK government, OneWeb is quickly returning to full operations – hiring at a fast pace, restarting launches, continuing to build its ground station network, and pushing forward on user terminal development, the company added.