OneWeb has confirmed the successful deployment and contact of 36 satellites launched by NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR) in Sriharikota, India.
The lift-off took place on March 26, 2023 at 9:00am local time. The satellites separated successfully from the rocket and were dispensed in nine phases over a period of 1 hour and 14 minutes, with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.
This is OneWeb’s 18th launch, its third this year, bringing the total of OneWeb’s constellation to 618 satellites. The OneWeb constellation design calls for 588 satellites for global coverage and additional satellites are planned for resiliency and redundancy. By the year-end, OneWeb will be ready to roll out global coverage, enhancing its existing connectivity solutions that are already live in regions north of 50-degrees latitude as it brings new areas online by partnering with leading providers.
This mission marks OneWeb’s second satellite deployment from India, highlighting the strong partnership with NSIL and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and OneWeb’s commitment to provide connectivity across the length and breadth of India. Once activated, OneWeb’s coverage solutions will bring secured connectivity to enterprises, towns, villages, municipalities and schools, including the most remote areas across the country.
Commenting on the launch, Sunil Bharti Mittal, executive chairman, OneWeb, said, “In my work I have seen the power of connectivity to bring benefits to all, wherever they are. Yet half the world’s population does not have access to fast, reliable connectivity. Today’s launch represents a major step towards closing the digital divide. OneWeb’s global constellation will play a pivotal role in realising this dream. I am particularly proud that OneWeb has crossed the threshold to be able to provide its global coverage in India, a country whose ambitions in enhancing space-based connectivity are being driven by New Space India and ISRO. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Government of India’s target to significantly expand access to high-speed internet connectivity is vital, and OneWeb is grateful for all the support and is delighted to be playing its part. Overall, this is an incredibly exciting time for the satellite connectivity industry, and I am delighted that the UK and India are at the forefront of developments. I would like to thank colleagues, our partners, vendors, investors and customers who have realised the potential of OneWeb and made this launch possible. I am incredibly excited for the future of OneWeb and the opportunity its connectivity services provide to communities globally.”
Meanwhile, Somanath S, secretary, Department of Space and chairman, ISRO, commented, “This launch is very important milestone for ISRO as we demonstrated the successful launch of second consecutive commercial payload of OneWeb. This valued customer trusted our capability and we have proved it in a very short span of time. This launch has created a new record in the Indian space history. With this launch of LVM3, through the New Space India Limited, ISRO is confident of handling many more such launches on demand for both LEO and GEO mission in the future. I wish OneWeb a great success in globalising the completed constellation.”
Additionally, Radhakrishnan D, chairman and managing director, NSIL, said, “Successful injection of 36 OneWeb Gen-1 satellites from UK by LVM3 today, is an extremely proud moment for NSIL and the entire ISRO fraternity. NSIL, would like to thank OneWeb for believing in our capabilities and giving us this important opportunity to undertake the mission. We are doubly happy, as this mission would mark the accomplishment of full constellation and commencement of commercial broadband services globally by M/s OneWeb. NSIL look forward to be associated with OneWeb not only in the area of providing launch solutions but also in several other business endeavours that would benefit both companies. We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the entire OneWeb’s technical and management team.”
Michelle Donelan, UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, said, “The completion of the LEO constellation is hugely significant both for OneWeb and the UK’s wider sector. We invested in OneWeb’s vision to bridge the global digital divide, and our burgeoning space sector is transforming the UK into the perfect base for like-minded companies to realise their stratospheric potential.”
Furthermore, Neil Masterson, chief executive officer, OneWeb, added, “This is the most significant milestone in the history of OneWeb, as we reach the satellites needed for global coverage. Over several years we have remained focused on our commitment to deliver coverage solutions for the customers and communities that need it most. With today’s satellite deployment, facilitated by our expert team and our partners at ISRO and NSIL, we are realising this central ambition. I would like to pay tribute to all of my colleagues at OneWeb who have driven our rapid momentum and progress over recent years. It is thanks to them that we will be able to deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity around the world later this year.”