OneWeb lifts off: Next batch ready to launch

34 satellites for the OneWeb constellation are ready for launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The satellites which arrived in two shipments, including one last week, have been tested, and have now been fitted into the dispenser of the Soyuz-2.1b rocket. OneWeb’s upcoming launch of 34 satellites has been scheduled for Thursday 6 February 21:42 (GMT) / Friday 7 February 02:42 (local time) from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

“This launch will be a massive step forward for OneWeb – one step closer to the ambition of improving global connectivity. These 34 satellites will join the six currently operating flawlessly in orbit. Our joint venture OneWeb Satellites produces two satellites a day – in series production, just like Airbus makes planes,” said Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Airbus Space Systems.

The satellites, which are manufactured at 1/50th of the cost of a traditional spacecraft, are all fitted with plasma thrusters enabling them to reach their correct position in low Earth orbit at 1,200km.

“Watching the first batch of our factory-built satellites launch from the Soyuz will be the realisation of a four-year journey... and just the beginning,” said Tony Gingiss, CEO OneWeb Satellites. “Our factory continues to ramp up and streamline our production to deliver the next batch… and the next… and the next!”

The OneWeb constellation will provide global connectivity with an initial 650 satellites. OneWeb’s mission is to provide affordable, high-speed internet connectivity everywhere for everyone, by 2021.

After this first launch from Baikonur, OneWeb is planning to launch around 30 satellites with Soyuz rockets every month.

Source: Airbus Defense and Space, Inc.
Date: Feb 3, 2020