OneWeb has successfully launched another 36 satellites to mark the completion of the company’s ‘Five to 50’ mission.
With this major milestone, the Company is ready to deliver connectivity across the United Kingdom, Canada, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, and the Arctic Region. The launch means that OneWeb can now provide connectivity solutions to fully fixed energy rigs operating onshore and offshore in the 50N and above region. Longer term, the development will potentially unlock new, untapped commercial fishing and merchant shipping operations in the Arctic as well as enabling improved environmental monitoring of sensitive eco-systems in this region.
The latest launch takes OneWeb’s on-orbit constellation to 254 satellites, or 40% of OneWeb’s planned fleet of 648 LEO satellites that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity. OneWeb intends to make global service available in 2022.
Service demonstrations will start this summer in several key locations – including Alaska and Canada – as OneWeb prepares for commercial service in the next six months. Offering enterprise-grade connectivity services, the Company has already announced distribution partnerships across several industries and businesses including with BT, ROCK Network, AST Group, PDI, Alaska Communications and others, as OneWeb expands its global capabilities. The Company continues to engage with telecommunications providers, ISPs, and governments worldwide to offer its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services and sees growing demand for new solutions to connect the hardest to reach places.
This 58th Soyuz mission was conducted by Arianespace and their Starsem affiliate was completed from Vostochny Cosmodrome for the fifth time on July 1 at 13:48 BST and represents OneWeb’s eighth launch, overall. By operating this flight on behalf of OneWeb, Arianespace participates in the fulfillment of its customer’s ultimate ambition: providing internet access to help bridge the digital divide.
OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in 9 batches over a period of 3 hours 52 minutes, with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites now confirmed.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson, MP, said, “This latest launch of OneWeb satellites will put high-speed broadband within reach of the whole Northern Hemisphere later this year, including improving connectivity in the remotest parts of the UK. Backed by the British Government, OneWeb proves what is possible when public and private investment come together, putting the UK at the forefront of the latest technologies, opening up new markets, and ultimately transforming the lives of people around the world.”
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, Executive Chairman of OneWeb, said, “Today’s momentous milestone demonstrates that OneWeb is now a leader in LEO broadband connectivity, serving a wide range of stakeholders across the Northern Hemisphere. This fifth launch amid the unprecedented global pandemic is truly remarkable and I congratulate the management team and fellow shareholders on the success. Bharti’s doubling of its investment earlier this week is testament to the commitment to OneWeb’s mission. We now look forward to the next chapter in OneWeb’s story, preparing the company for commercial service in the less than six months to deliver our global connectivity solutions to communities around the world.”
The Rt. Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng, MP, Secretary of State, BEIS, added, “This launch is an exciting milestone in providing some of the world’s most remote locations with fast, UK-backed broadband less than a year since British government investment made this possible. With yet another successful mission, the people of the UK can be proud that this country is at the heart of the latest advances in small satellite technology. OneWeb’s coverage across the Northern Hemisphere now puts the United Kingdom at the forefront of the latest developments in Low Earth Orbit technology, and we will capitalise on the company’s unique position within this growing market to build a strong domestic space industry and cement our status as a global science and technology superpower.”
Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, said, “This is a truly historic moment for OneWeb, the culmination of months of positive momentum in our ‘Five to 50’ program, increased investment from our global partners and the rapid onboarding of new customers. We are incredibly excited to start delivering high-speed, low-latency connectivity first to the UK and the Arctic region and to see our network scale over the coming months as we continue building to global service. Thanks to all our incredible partners who have been with us on this journey and are instrumental to making OneWeb’s mission a success.”