OneWeb launches LEO satellites
OneWeb, a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications operator, co-owned by Bharti Global and the UK government, launched another batch of 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia. The latest launch takes OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 218 satellites. These would form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.
- This represents the fourth in a five-launch programme to fulfil the ‘Five to 50’ service, which will enable OneWeb to offer connectivity across the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, the Arctic Seas and Canada.
- The service is expected to be switched on before the end of the year and OneWeb intends to make global services available in 2022.
- The company’s satellites are built by OneWeb Satellites, a OneWeb and Airbus joint venture facility in Florida that can produce two satellites a day.
- The latest satellites launch comes just a month after Bharti-backed OneWeb announced plans to raise $550 million (Rs 4,103 crore) by selling a 24% stake to Eutelsat Communications, bringing its total funding to $1.9 billion and taking it closer to launching a first-generation fleet of 648 satellites next year.
- Bharti Global is the overseas arm of Bharti Enterprises -- the holding company of Bharti Airtel, India’s second-largest telco.