OneWeb launches 36 satellites from Kazakhstan
A Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster with a Fregat upper stage and satellites of British firm OneWeb blasts off from a launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on December 27, 2021. (Roscosmos/Handout via REUTERS)
BRITAIN-BASED tech company OneWeb launched 36 communications satellites into space from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday (27), live broadcasts showed.
OneWeb – backed by India’s Bharti Enterprises – has been launching satellites into orbit as part of its plans to deliver global high-speed internet access.
“Launch #12 represents the last in a sequence of eight launches scheduled in 2021 by OneWeb with launch partners Arianespace,” the company said on its website.
French global launch services company Arianespace, OneWeb and Russia’s space agency Roscosmos all broadcast the launch.
Earlier this year, OneWeb said a launch from Russia’s Far East would allow it to offer connectivity everywhere north of 50 degrees latitude.
OneWeb has listed the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, continental US, the Arctic Seas and Canada as areas that should be offered full connectivity.
The Interfax news agency said the satellites, launched aboard a Soyuz-2.1b rocket, would be separated in stages.
OneWeb resumed flights last December after emerging from bankruptcy protection with $1 billion (£740 million) in equity investment from a consortium of the British government and Bharti Enterprises, its new owners.
It has also received investment from Japan’s Softbank and Eutelsat Communications, and further financing from Bharti. OneWeb has secured $2.4 bn (£1.78 bn) in total.