The London satellite company OneWeb has launched 36 more satellites as part of the project to cover the planet with the Internet. The satellites rose on a GSLV rocket from the island of Sriharikota in India.
The company announced this on October 23.
The launch vehicle GSLV (Indiaʼs largest and most powerful launch vehicle) lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Spaceport in Andhra Pradesh at 00:07 am on Sunday, October 23. It took one and a half hours to unload all the satellites at an altitude of 600 km.
There are currently 462 One Web satellites in orbit above the Earth. This is more than 70% of the total volume that OneWeb needs to achieve global Internet coverage. The company expects to complete the deployment of the satellites in the middle of next year. OneWeb is already offering high-speed broadband to beta users.
Back in March, the situation for OneWeb looked very uncertain, but the companyʼs plans were disrupted by the war in Ukraine. The conflict and Western sanctions against Russia resulted in the company losing access to Russian Soyuz missiles. With only two-thirds of its satellites in orbit, OneWeb had to move quickly to ensure flights on other carriers. Then the company concluded agreements with American rocket suppliers SpaceX and Relativity Space, as well as with Indiaʼs New Space India Limited, and continued to launch satellites.
- In 2020, the OneWeb startup announced bankruptcy. The company said at the time that it had not been able to secure the funding that would have enabled it to launch further satellites and ground stations. The economic crisis associated with the new coronavirus pandemic was cited as the reason for this.