Bharti-backed OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, has announced the successful lift-off of another 36 satellites to mark the completion of its ‘Five to 50’ mission. With this major milestone, the company is on the way to deliver connectivity across the United Kingdom, Canada, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland and the Arctic region.
The completion of the latest launch will take OneWeb’s in-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 begin 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.
The launch of the latest 36 satellites is conducted by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrom. Lift-off occurred on 1 July at 6:18 PM IST.
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. We wait for confirmation of satellite acquisition in the coming hours,” added Mittal.
Neil Masterson, CEO, OneWeb, said, “This is a truly historic moment for OneWeb, the culmination of months of positive momentum in our ‘Five to 50’ programme, 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.”