GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

British-based firm OneWeb launched 34 satellites into orbit from a cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, expanding its in-orbit constellation to 322 satellites, it said on 15 September 2021. OneWeb plans to launch a total of 648 low earth orbit satellites to roll out a high-speed global internet connection including to the most remote corners of the world.

What

  1. The launch, carried out by Arianespace, keeps OneWeb on track to start a service in swathes of the northern hemisphere this year and to deliver a global service next year.
  2. OneWeb resumed satellite launches in December after emerging from bankruptcy protection with $1 billion in equity investment from a consortium of the British government and India's Bharti Enterprises.
  3. It has received further financing from Bharti as well as investment from Eutelsat Communications and Japan's Softbank.
  4. OneWeb is a global communications company that aims to deliver broadband satellite Internet around the world through its fleet of LEO satellites.
  5. OneWeb’s chief competitor is Starlink, a venture led by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Starlink currently has 1,385 satellites in orbit and has already started beta testing in North America and initiating pre-orders in countries like India.