Bharti backed OneWeb launches 36 internet satellites in orbit

representational image (iStock photo)

The Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company OneWeb backed by India-based Bharti Enterprises has launched 36 satellites, bringing the total in-orbit constellation to 358 satellites, the company said.

The satellites were launched into orbit atop a Russian-built Soyuz rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in a mission operated by French company Arianespace. The Liftoff occurred at 5.40 a.m. EDT (3.10 p.m. India time).

OneWeb is also one of the founding members of the recently launched Indian Space Association (ISpA). Rahul Vatts, Chief Regulatory Officer Bharti Airtel and Director — OneWeb India is the Vice Chairman of the ISpA.

The London-based OneWeb is building a constellation of 648 LEO satellites, which will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

The new mission had a total duration of three hours and 51 minutes and included nine separations of four satellites each, which will raise themselves to their operational orbit.

“Once deployed, the OneWeb constellation will enable user terminals that are capable of offering 3G, LTE, 5G and Wi-Fi coverage, providing high-speed access globally – by air, sea and land,” Arianespace said in a statement.

OneWeb aims to reach global service by 2022 and is seeing growing demand from telecommunications providers, ISPs, and governments worldwide to offer its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services.

It has raised $2.7 billion since November 2020, with no debt issuance.

OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space, is the constellation’s prime contractor.

The satellites were built using its leading-edge satellite manufacturing process that can build up to two satellites a day on a series production line dedicated to the assembly, integration, and testing of the satellites.