OneWeb's 34 satellite launch occured today, Saturday, March 21, at 17:06 (GMT) / 1:06 PM (EDT) / 22:06 (local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
This is the second launch for OneWeb in 2020 and these additional 34 satellites will bring the constellation total to 74. The satellites are built by OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus who are engaged in a new, high-volume, manufacturing process that can build two satellites per day.
Arianespace launched OneWeb’s satellites into a near polar orbit of 450 kilometers, after which they will be raised to their final orbit of 1,200 kilometers.
OneWeb’s first customer demos are scheduled for the end of 2020 and availability of commercial services, for sectors such as maritime, aviation, government and enterprise, are scheduled for the end of 2021.
The official press release from OneWeb reads as follows:
OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, today announced the successful launch of 34 satellites, aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
Lift-off occurred on February 06th at 21:42 pm UTC. The OneWeb satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches over a period of several hours, with signal acquisition on all 34 confirmed within hours.
This launch is the second successful launch in one of the largest civilian satellite launch campaigns in history. It will help build OneWeb's phase one constellation of 648 satellites that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity, while addressing the world’s most pressing connectivity problems.
The communications company is on schedule to provide global coverage to customers in 2021, starting with the first commercial services in the Arctic this year. This follows OneWeb both securing global priority spectrum rights and successfully launching its first batch of satellites in 2019.
OneWeb's network will provide a unique combination of high data throughput, low latency, true global coverage and a range of user terminals for multiple markets including maritime, aviation, government and enterprise.
Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb, said: “The successful manufacture, delivery and launch of this batch of 34 satellites is the latest proof point of the OneWeb plan. Importantly, today’s mission also brings us closer to our next step, realizing our ultimate vision of providing access to high speed, reliable internet to everyone, everywhere.
“We are seeing considerable interest from prospective customers and partners. Later this year, we will provide service in the arctic region and 2021 will see OneWeb achieve global coverage, making the digital divide a thing of the past. I’m very proud of our team and partners who continue to collaborate to make our ambitious scale a reality, and also those in Kazakhstan for supporting our vision.”
OneWeb streamed this launch on Facebook: OneWeb on Facebook