Arianespace’s tenth launch of 2021 with the seventh Soyuz rocket launched this year will place the OneWeb satellite passengers into LEO — the launcher will be carrying a total payload of approximately 5,797 kg. The launch was performed at Vostochny, in Russia.
Flight ST36, the sixth commercial mission from Vostochny in Russia, placed 36 OneWeb satellites into orbit. That brings the total fleet number to 358 satellites in a near-polar orbit at an altitude of 450 kilometers. After separation, the satellites raised themselves to their operational orbit.
“Congratulations to all the teams who made this eleventh launch dedicated to OneWeb’s satellites a success,” said Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace. “ST36 marks a new milestone in our common history. Precisely one hour and eighteen minutes after liftoff, during the first separation sequence, we officially crossed the halfway mark for OneWeb’s constellation deployment. By the end of 2022, we will proudly operate eight more Soyuz launches in order to complete full the deployment of the constellation.”
OneWeb’s mission is to deliver internet everywhere to everyone through the creation of a global connectivity platform via a next generation satellite constellation in LEO. OneWeb’s constellation of 648 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, in so doing, bridge the digital divide.
The satellite prime contractor is OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture of OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space. The satellites were produced in Florida, USA, in the company’s satellite manufacturing facilities that can build as many as two satellites per day on a series production line that is dedicated to spacecraft assembly, integration and testing.
This launch was operated by Arianespace and the firm’s Euro-Russian affiliate, Starsem, under contract with Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency. Arianespace is responsible for the overall mission and flight-worthiness, with the support of Starsem for launch campaign activities including management of their own launch facilities at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
RKTs-Progress (the Samara Space Center) is responsible for the design, development, manufacture and integration of the Soyuz launch vehicle as well as for the 3-stage Soyuz flight. NPO Lavotchkin is responsible for the launch preparation operations and flight of the Fregat orbital vehicle.
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.
As OneWeb’s constellation will ultimately consist of 648 satellites — this launch hits the mark of more than half of the constellation being on-orbit. The 324th satellite, deployed during the first separation, marked this milestone.