By: Chandrashekar Bhat
ONEWEB, the low earth orbit satellite communications company, has collaborated with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to complete its satellite launch programme.
The London-based company was forced to look for alternatives after it broke with Russian space agency Roscosmos in March this year as Moscow invaded Ukraine. But it later announced that it entered into an agreement with SpaceX to resume satellite launches.
OneWeb’s launch contract with ISRO’s commercial arm New Space India Limited supplements its agreement with the American firm founded by billionaire Elon Musk.
Indian conglomerate Bharti Global is the largest shareholder in OneWeb in which the UK government also holds a stake.
Its first launch with New Space India is expected in 2022 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
According to the company, the launches will add to its total in-orbit constellation of 428 satellites, 66 per cent of the planned fleet, to build a global network that will deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity.
Its executive chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “This is yet another historic day for collaboration in space, thanks to the shared ambition and vision of New Space India and OneWeb. This most recent agreement on launch plans adds considerable momentum to the development of OneWeb’s network, as we work together across the space industry toward our common goal of connecting communities globally.”
OneWeb has already activated service with its network “at the 50th parallel and above”, as demand for the company’s broadband connectivity services continues to grow from multiple sectors and markets, it said in a statement on Wednesday (20).
However, it said other terms of the agreement with New Space India are confidential.