Bharti-backed satellite communications company, OneWeb, announced the successful deployment of 36 low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites launched by NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh on Sunday. The lift-off occurred at 9 a.m. on Sunday. The satellites were successfully separated from the rocket and dispensed in nine phases within a time frame of 1 hour and 14 minutes. The signal acquisition on all 36 satellites was confirmed.
This was OneWeb’s 18th launch, the third this year, and it brings the total number of satellites in the constellation to 618. According to a statement from the company, the OneWeb constellation is designed to have 588 satellites for global coverage, with additional satellites planned for resiliency and redundancy. With this successful launch, the constellation is on track to provide global services soon.
By the end of the year, OneWeb will be ready to roll out global coverage and will enhance its existing connectivity solutions already available in regions north of 50 degrees latitude by partnering with leading providers. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Executive Chairman of OneWeb, said that he has seen the power of connectivity in his work and believes that connectivity can bring benefits to everyone, wherever they are. He added that OneWeb’s global constellation will play a pivotal role in realizing this dream.
The UK and India are at the forefront of developments in the satellite connectivity industry, said Mittal. He also lauded the government’s target to significantly expand access to high-speed internet connectivity as it is vital for closing the digital divide. Somanath S, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, ISRO, said that the launch is an important milestone for ISRO as it demonstrated the successful launch of a second consecutive commercial payload of OneWeb. He added that ISRO is confident of handling many more such launches on demand for both LEO and GEO missions in the future.
Neil Masterson, Chief Executive of OneWeb, said that this is the most significant milestone in the history of OneWeb as it reached the satellites needed for global coverage. He added that they have remained focused on their commitment to delivering a network that will provide connectivity for their customers and communities that need it the most.
The successful deployment of OneWeb’s satellites is a proud moment for NSIL and the entire ISRO fraternity, said Radhakrishnan D, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NewSpace India Limited. UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology Michelle Donelan said that the completion of the LEO constellation is hugely significant both for OneWeb and the UK’s wider sector. She added that their investment in OneWeb’s vision to bridge the global digital divide is transforming the UK into the perfect base for like-minded companies to realize their stratospheric potential.