OneWeb has deployed a fresh batch of 40 satellites as the British communications company expands its connectivity capabilities.
The satellites, launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Thursday (9), take Oneweb’s constellation strength to 582 against the target of 648.
The latest satellites were separated from the Falcon 9 rocket and OneWeb confirmed the signal acquisition on all of them.
It was OneWeb’s 17th launch overall and third with SpaceX. The Sunil Mittal-led firm seeks to complete its global footprint with the scheduled launch of remaining satellites with India’s ISRO later this month.
“We are now just one mission away from completing our Gen 1 (first generation) constellation, which will activate global service in 2023,” the company’s CEO Neil Masterson said.
Rescued from bankruptcy by the UK government and the Indian telecommunications major Bharti Global in 2020, the London-based firm already has active connectivity solutions in key geographies across the world. It has collaborated with Orange, Galaxy Broadband, Paratus and Telespazio to bring new areas online.
OneWeb said the company and its partners are focused on bridging the digital divide and providing internet connectivity to unconnected and underserved rural and remote communities and businesses.
Masterson described Thursday’s launch as an “exciting milestone”.
“OneWeb is dedicated to continuing the momentum we have garnered from the past 17 successful launches, to innovate alongside our trusted partners and deliver connectivity solutions at scale,” he said.
Last month, the Amsterdam-headquartered telecommunications firm Veon, which operates Ukraine’s largest mobile network, struck a deal with OneWeb to integrate its satellite services with its terrestrial network. Veon plans to use OneWeb’s services for emergency purposes, offsetting damage to networks on the ground, and extending coverage to rural areas.