The following is Arianespace’s announcement…
Today’s launch, Flight ST29, was the 53rd Soyuz mission carried out by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate, marking a milestone as their first from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia. Performed on Friday, December 18 at precisely 9:26:26 p.m. local time (12:26:26p.m. UTC), Flight ST29 orbited 36 new OneWeb satellites – bringing the size of the fleet in orbit to 110.
“Congratulations to all teams who made this first commercial mission from the Vostochny cosmodrome a success. This launch confirms Arianespace’s ability to deploy the OneWeb constellation through the use of three different Soyuz launch sites – in French Guiana, Kazakhstan and Russia. I sincerely want to thank OneWeb for their trust. I am delighted that Arianespace and Starsem have contributed – for the fourth time – to this client’s ultimate ambition of providing Internet access to everyone, anywhere, at any time,“ said Stéphane Israël, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace.
Arianespace has launched 110 OneWeb satellites to date. The initial six were successfully orbited by Soyuz Flight VS21 from French Guiana during February, 2019. In February and March 2020 Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate successfully launched 68 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Soyuz Flights ST27 and ST28.
Pursuant to an amended launch contract with OneWeb, Arianespace and Starsem will perform 15 more Soyuz launches through 2021 and 2022. These launches will enable OneWeb to complete the deployment of its full global constellation of low Earth orbit satellites by the end of 2022.
OneWeb’s mission is to bring internet everywhere to everyone, by creating a global connectivity platform through a next-generation satellite constellation in low Earth orbit. The OneWeb constellation will deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity to a wide range of customer sectors, including aviation, maritime, backhaul services, and for governments, emergency response services and more. Central to its purpose, OneWeb seeks to bring connectivity to every place where fiber cannot reach, and thereby bridge the digital divide.
The satellite prime contractor is OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space. The satellites were produced in Florida, USA in its leading-edge satellite manufacturing facilities that can build up to two satellites per day on a series production line dedicated to spacecraft assembly, integration, and testing.
End of Arianespace’s announcement
Flight ST29: Fourth flight for OneWeb with the first Arianespace mission from Vostochny Cosmodrome.
OneWeb – the global satellite communications company based in the UK – resumes flights.
This 53rd Soyuz mission conducted by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate will be operated from Vostochny Cosmodrome and represents OneWeb’s fourth launch overall and the third for this year.
This mission will deliver 36 satellites into orbit, bringing the total fleet to 110 satellites in low Earth orbit.
By operating this fourth flight on behalf of OneWeb, Arianespace participates in the fulfillment of its customer’s ultimate ambition: providing internet access for everyone, everywhere, all the time.
Flight ST29, the first commercial mission from Vostochny Cosmodrome performed by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate, will put 36 of OneWeb’s satellites into a near-polar orbit at an altitude of 450 kilometers. After separation, the satellites will raise themselves to their operational orbit.
The first six OneWeb satellites were successfully orbited by Arianespace on Soyuz Flight VS21 from French Guiana on February 27, 2019. On February 7, 2020, Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate successfully launched 34 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Soyuz Flight ST27. On March 20, 2020, the team successfully delivered an additional 34 satellites into orbit on Soyuz Flight ST28.
OneWeb’s mission is to bring internet everywhere to everyone, by creating a global connectivity platform through a next generation satellite constellation in low Earth orbit. OneWeb’s constellation will deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity services to a wide range of customer sectors, including aviation, maritime, backhaul services, and for governments, emergency response services and more. Central to its purpose, OneWeb seeks to bring connectivity to everywhere where fiber cannot reach, and thereby bridge the digital divide.
Once deployed, the OneWeb constellation will enable user terminals that are capable of offering 3G, LTE, 5G and Wi-Fi coverage, providing high-speed access globally – by air, sea and land.
OneWeb’s initial constellation is based on approximately 650 satellites as it grows to meet demand around the world. As OneWeb looks to the New Year, the company is focused on scaling the satellite constellation to begin commercial services starting at the end of 2021 to the UK, Alaska, Canada, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, and the Arctic Seas.
OneWeb Satellites is a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space, where OneWeb Satellites is the constellation’s prime contractor. The satellites were built thanks to its leading-edge satellite manufacturing process that can build up to two satellites a day on a series production line dedicated to the assembly, integration, and testing of the satellites. The facility is running at full speed, within the coronavirus pandemic guidelines, manufacturing satellites that are tested and ready now, and also for future launches.
With the launch of 36 OneWeb satellites on Flight ST29, Arianespace will have orbited a total of 239 spacecraft from Airbus Defence and Space. The Arianespace backlog of payloads remaining to be launched for Airbus Defence and Space (excluding the remaining OneWeb satellites) counts 22 additional payloads.
RUAG Space AB (Linköping, Sweden) is the prime contractor in charge of development and production of the dispenser system used on Flight ST29. It will carry the satellites during their flight to low Earth orbit and then release them into space.
The dedicated dispenser is designed to accommodate up to 36 spacecraft per launch, allowing Arianespace to deliver the lion’s share of the initial OneWeb constellation in a timely manner.