OneWeb launch 9 (Source: Roscosmos, TsENKI)

OneWeb successfully launches another group of broadband satellites

This week OneWeb successfully launched 34 more satellites, bring its total in-orbit constellation to 288 satellites. All satellites were successfully contacted after launch.

OneWeb’s latest launch took place on August 21, 2021 at 6:13 PM EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan onboard a Soyuz Rocket chartered by Arianespace. The satellites were distributed in nine batches over a period of almost four hours. 

 “Following the successful completion of our ‘Five to 50’ mission, we are building on our success and embarking on an ambitious back-to-back launch programme until the end of 2021,” said Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO. “We are seeing huge demand for our services from global customers, and we are incredibly excited about scaling our network ahead of its commercial launch.

OneWeb plans to launch a total of 648 satellites to delivery high-speed low-latency broadband connectivity worldwide.  The company is on track to deliver service above the 50th parallel by the end of the year, enabling it to deliver service to Alaska, Canada, the UK, and the polar regions.  Global coverage is expected in 2022, with batches of satellites launched on a near-monthly schedule through next year.

Since the beginning of the year, OneWeb has announced distribution partnerships across several industries and businesses including most recently with Northwestel in Canada and BT in the UK.  

Earlier this month, OneWeb announced a $300 million investment into the company by South Korean electronics manufacturer Hanwha Systems, bringing the company up to a total of $2.7 billion and fully funding the company through the launch of all of its first generation satellites and into providing commercial services.

OneWeb is already soliciting information from vendors to build its Gen2 second-generation satellite constellation which may number upward of 4,000 or more satellites. The company also continues to announce new hardware partners and most recently announced a compact, electronically steered flat panel antenna user terminal developed with Intellian Technologies and Collins Aerospace.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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