OneWeb confirms successful launch of 34 satellites - Its India plans on stream

Arianspace rocket with OneWeb satellites blasting off
Arianspace rocket with OneWeb satellites blasting off. (Image credit: OneWeb)

Bharti-backed low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company OneWeb, which along with Hughes Communications is to offer internet services in India, has successfully launched a batch of 34 satellites through Arianespace Soyuz rocket yesterday, taking its total in-orbit constellation to 428 satellites.

OneWeb has now launched two thirds out of the 648-strong LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

The launch, from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, is OneWeb’s first in 2022 and 13th overall.

The new broadband satellites are meant for OneWeb's target sectors including aviation, maritime, ISPs, governments and telecom providers.

To date, Arianespace has launched five Soyuz missions for OneWeb from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and six from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia.

OneWeb has big plans for India

Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, was quoted as saying: “Our first launch of the year marks our significant progress in completing a truly global LEO network later in 2022. We continue to see growing demand for OneWeb’s industry-leading services as we look forward to delivering on our ambition to build robust, secure, and global access to broadband services.”

OneWeb dedicated this latest launch to its commitment to Responsible Space initiative, which consists of three core elements --- committing to responsible design and operations, sustaining the space ecosystem to support new technologies and engaging in advancing policy outcomes to balance growing the space economy while ensuring its protection.

OneWeb, which is part-owned by the British government, is building itself into a big player in the internet satellite segment to compete with Starlink, which is part of Elon Musk's much hyped SpaceX program. 

OneWeb has big plans  to bring satellite internet to India. OneWeb, in conjunction with Hughes Communication, is expected to start offering satellite-based internet services in India by mid-2022 and will offer high-speed internet connectivity to remote villages and locations where wired connectivity isn’t feasible.

Meanwhile, this week OneWeb also filed objections with the FCC in the US to its rival SpaceX’s second generation Starlink plan on sustainability grounds.

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Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.