36 internet satellites loaded: OneWeb closer to launch with Isro’s LVM-III

New Delhi, UPDATED: March 16, 2023 1:17 PM IST

From India Today Science Desk: Weeks after landing in India, the second batch of 36 OneWeb internet satellites have been encapsulated in the LVM-III launch shroud. The satellites will complete the UK-based company’s Gen 1 constellation network to deliver broadband services.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is preparing to launch the 36 satellites into low-Earth orbit on its heaviest launch vehicle, the Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVMIII). The rocket will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota to deploy the probes.

Continue reading

Isro has not yet released any information about the launch dates. However, it is expected to launch later this month.

Also read | Venus is Alive: Scientists Find Volcanoes Erupting on Earth’s Mysterious Twin

“Exciting news from India as we confirm encapsulation of our 36 satellites ahead of #OneWebLaunch18; our final launch that will complete our Gen 1 constellation. Thank you to our local OneWebbers as well as our colleagues at Isro and NSIL,” OneWeb said in a tweet.

The launch fairing is integrated into the satellites. (Photo: OneWeb)

This will be the 18th launch for OneWeb, which will complete its first constellation around Earth. The company recently performed the 17th launch to deploy 40 internet satellites aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

The UK government-backed company canceled a planned launch of 36 broadband satellites aboard Russia’s Soyuz rocket in March last year after Russia’s space chief halted the mission following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Also read | Everest conserves germs sneezed on by climbers. You sleep for now

READ :  Converge bolsters Internet speed for residential customers

Dmitry Rogozin said at the time that his agency wanted OneWeb to provide guarantees that its satellites would not be used against Russia. Western post-invasion sanctions have impacted Moscow’s space industry, and Rogozin also called for the UK to sell its stake in OneWeb.

OneWeb declined and canceled all future Soyuz launches. However, it was not possible to recover the satellites from its Soyuz launch site at Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The satellites are worth a total of $50 million, OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson said Tuesday.

The dispute was a temporary setback to OneWeb’s plan to create an initial constellation of 588 satellites to provide global broadband coverage, and forced the company to rush into new rocket deals with the Indian Space Research Organization and SpaceX.

OneWeb makes at least two satellites a day.

Also read | Flexible, slimmer and in different sizes: this is what astronauts will wear on the moon