Arianespace‘s first launch of this year will take place March 25 when 36 OneWeb smallsats will be released from a Soyuz launch vehicle into orbit. This mission will deliver 36 satellites into orbit, bringing the total fleet to 146 satellites in low Earth orbit. This 55th Soyuz mission conducted by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate will be operated from Vostochny Cosmodrome for the second time and represents OneWeb’s fifth launch overall.
By operating this fifth flight on behalf of OneWeb, Arianespace participates in the fulfilment of its customer’s ultimate ambition: providing internet access for everyone, everywhere, all the time.
Flight ST30, the second 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 21, 2020, the team successfully delivered an additional 34 satellites into orbit on Soyuz Flight ST28. On December 18, 2020, the first Soyuz from Vostochny successfully placed in orbit 36 satellites on Flight ST29.
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 of 650 satellites will deliver high-speed, low-latency enterprise grade connectivity services to a wide range of customer sectors including enterprise, government, maritime and aviation customers. Central to its purpose, OneWeb seeks to bring connectivity to every unconnected area 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.
In 2021, the company is focused on scaling the satellite constellation to launch 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.
Flight ST30 will orbit the 111st to 146th OneWeb satellites to be launched by Arianespace.
With the launch of 36 OneWeb satellites on Flight ST30, Arianespace will have orbited a total of 276 spacecraft from Airbus Defence and Space (including OneWeb Satellites – a joint-venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space founded in 2016).
The Arianespace backlog of payloads remaining to be launched for Airbus Defence and Space (excluding the remaining OneWeb satellites) counts 21 additional payloads.