OneWeb Launch To Resume Toward The End Of The Year

27th Jun 2022
OneWeb Launch To Resume Toward The End Of The Year

OneWeb expects to resume launches in the fourth quarter of 2022., the company announced on 23rd June. The original launch plans for the broadband mega constellation business were interrupted due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

However, the vice president of space infrastructure partnerships and development at OneWeb, Maurizio Vanotti, announced new launches. The remaining satellites of its first-generation system can be launched by the second quarter of 2023. OneWeb now has new launch agreements with NewSpace India Ltd. (NSIL) and SpaceX.

Speaking at the UK Space Agency and Secure World Foundation’s Fourth Summit for Space Sustainability, he said the following:

“Our plan is to be back on the launch pad in quarter four, after the summer, and to complete deployment of the constellation by quarter two next year. 

“We’re going to be in service with global coverage, 24/7, by the end of next year.”

He explained that it will take several months after that final launch for the satellites to move to their operational orbits.

At one point, OneWeb was expected to complete its constellation by the end of 2022 using Soyuz rockets. However, when the West placed sanctions on Russia, their plans were upended. 

Launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome were formally suspended by OnWeb after they rejected conditions imposed by Roscosmos, which included the divestment of the British government’s stake in the business and no military use of satellites. 

OneWeb Agreements with SpaceX and NSIL

Three weeks after suspending launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome, OneWeb announced a launch agreement with SpaceX. However, no details about this have been disclosed. The only comment so far is that it will be for a “few Falcon 9 launches,” as per Maurizio Vanotti.

In terms of NSIL, this agreement was announced in April. We do not know how many launches are included in the contract. However, Vanotti confirmed that the satellites will be launched by NSIL on the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark 3. This is the GSLV’s most powerful version, yet it has not been launched for three years.

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