The ambitious OneWeb Satellite constellation, the brainchild of Greg Wyler is all set for launch of low Earth orbit satellites before next February. Slated to be launched by Arianespace, the planned December launch of 10 satellites is likely to be pushed back. Announcing his to SpaceNews Greg shared that this was necessitated as a result of other commitments by Arianespace, and OneWeb accommodated the request for a flexible launch date.
This was confirmed by Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace who gave the launch window for OneWeb’s satellites as between Dec. to Feb. The CEO clarified that OneWeb’s satellites will be launched as early as possible. Technically, though February is the other end of the window, there is a possibility of the launch happening earlier.
There have reports in a section of the Russian media that the development of satellites had faced delays and that was the cause for the delay in launch. These reports were shrugged off by OneWeb’s Greg who categorically stated that OneWeb was ready with the satellites, weighing 145 kilos each.
The Arianespace – Soyuz launches are planned in such a manner so as to put around 34 satellites into orbit with each launch. However, the first launch will carry only 10 satellites that are production grade and not prototype satellites. The first launch will place the satellites in a 1200 kilometer orbit directly.
OneWeb formerly known as WorldWu is embarking on a mission to build 900 satellites in a joint venture with Airbus’s Defence and Space division. These satellites will eventually form an internet satellite constellation that will offer global internet broadband, while in low Earth orbit, transmitting in the Ku band. As part of its grandiose plan, OneWeb has a plan to go beyond the 900 satellites, planning for as much as 2000 satellites in orbit. The company has also entered into a MoU with Virgin Orbit and Blue Origin for additional missions. The Richard Branson promoted Virgin Orbit will carry out 3 LauncherOne missions, while Blue Origin is slated to handle 05 New Glenn launches.