OneWeb to launch satellites from Baikonur

ASTANA – OneWeb will be launching a constellation of satellites which will provide broadband Internet access to users worldwide by fully covering the Earth’s surface.

Photo credit: kazpravda.kz.

OneWeb British communications satellites mounted on Soyuz spacecraft will be launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome beginning in the fourth quarter of the year, reported Arianespace. The company, headquartered in France, provides services using Ariane, Soyuz and Vega launch vehicles.

The Kourou launch site in French Guiana will also launch a Soyuz rocket with OneWeb satellites this year, paving the way for subsequent launches from Baikonur in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the Arianespace press service.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti earlier reported that four OneWeb launches are scheduled from the cosmodrome this year – one in the third and three in the fourth quarter.

In June 2015, Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, signed a contract with Arianespace and OneWeb for 21 commercial launches of 672 satellites using Soyuz launch vehicles from Baikonur, Kourou and Vostochny (Russia) spaceports. Soyuz rockets are developed and manufactured by Samara Progress.

Airbus, Coca-Cola, Qualcomm, SoftBank and Virgin Group are among the investors in the OneWeb project.

The company had difficulty in obtaining frequencies in Russia last year due to opposition from the Russian Federal Security Service and Roskomnadzor. Despite the issues, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said his corporation will continue its cooperation with OneWeb.

OneWeb Satellites is a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus, the world’s second largest space company producing low-cost and high performing satellites. The satellites will be logically interlocked and closer to the Earth, allowing for better web performance and creating complete coverage of the planet. The company is distinguished by manufacturing up to 15 satellites per week and pioneering large volume spacecraft production.

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