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Arianespace launches first batch of OneWeb satellites
Soyuz lift-off on 27th February. © Arianespace

Arianespace launches first batch of OneWeb satellites

In Arianespace’s second launch of the year, a Soyuz launcher carried six OneWeb satellites into a circular low Earth orbit at 1,000km.

Flight VS21, Arianespace’s second launch of the year, was successfully completed on 27th February following lift-off at 6:37 p.m., (Kourou time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana (South America).

Six OneWeb satellites were placed into a circular low Earth orbit at 1,000km by a Soyuz launcher. It was the 21st Soyuz launch from the CSG. Total payload was a shade over 1,945kg.

This was the first of 21 launches contracted by OneWeb in June 2015 for the deployment of Phase no.1 of the eponymous constellation using Soyuz launchers operating from three spaceports (Kourou in French Guiana; the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan; and Vostochny, Russia) through 2020.

OneWeb aims to deliver global communications through a next-generation satellite constellation that brings seamless connectivity to everyone, everywhere.

The constellation will provide high-speed, low-latency services to a wide range of markets, including aviation, maritime, backhaul services, community Wi-Fi, emergency response services and more, delivering high-speed access around the world – by air, sea and land.

OneWeb Satellites – a joint-venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space – is the constellation’s prime contractor.

OneWeb’s initial constellation will be composed of approximately 650 satellites and could expand to more than 900 as it grows to meet demand around the world. Commercial services are scheduled to begin in 2021.

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