Houston (Kia) – The race to get satellites into outer space continues, as a Space X competitor once again shows its presence. This morning, OneWeb Another 36 spacecraft were successfully launched aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, taking off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in eastern Russia.
The deployment of OneWeb’s broadband satellite constellation program is now past halfway for the project, which began with a test launch back in February of 2019. Thursday’s launch is the eleventh in a series of flights to deploy OneWeb’s initial constellation of 648 satellites. The 36 satellites launched today now join the 322 satellites already in orbit.
All about high speed broadband service. Greg Wheeler, American entrepreneur and founder of OneWeb, wants to provide high-speed broadband to satellites with a large contingency from small satellites in low Earth orbit. While this may sound similar to SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, it’s different.
OneWeb sees its primary customer base as business and government users. Satellite Internet services are seen as a means of achieving high-speed connectivity to areas that cannot be easily served by broadband on the ground, especially rural or remote locations or where infrastructure may not exist. By placing the satellites in lower orbits, this reduces problems because the signals do not have much distance to travel.
While the first 648 spacecraft will make up its initial group, OneWeb has committed to building at least 900 satellites. Each OneWeb satellite weighs 147 kg and has an expected design life of at least seven years. Additional units will serve as spare parts and replacements for any of them that may fail or reach the end of their operational life.
OneWeb partnership with Airbus Defense and Space to manufacture the satellites, at a facility near Cape Canaveral, Florida. This makes it easy to produce hundreds of additional satellites that will be needed over the life of the constellation.
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