OneWeb has confirmed the successful deployment and contact of 36 satellites launched by NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).
The launch took place on Sunday, 26 March 2023 from India’s the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR) in Sriharikota. The satellites separated 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.
OneWeb is a the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company which now has a constellation of 618 satellites in space. For global coverage the OneWeb constellation design requires 588 satellites so now there are plenty of spares for 'resiliency and redundancy'.
“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," says Sunil Bharti Mittal, Executive Chairman of OneWeb.
“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," he says.
“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,” he adds.
The mission was OneWeb's eighteenth and its second deployment from India where it partners with NSIL and ISRO.
“This launch is a 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 Ltd, 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,” says Shri. Somanath S, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, ISRO.
OneWeb’s coverage solutions will bring secured connectivity to enterprises, towns, villages, municipalities and schools, including the most remote areas across the country - it is already active to those north of 50 degrees latitude.
“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 OneWeb," says Radhakrishnan D, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NewSpace India Limited.
"NSIL looks forward to being 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,” he added.
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