Arianespace announced on 25 March that it had successfully deployed 36 new OneWeb satellites in orbit and that currently there are 146 satellites in the constellation now in low Earth orbit. Flight ST30 was the 55th Soyuz mission carried out by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate.
“Congratulations to all the teams who made this latest 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,” said Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace. “I want to sincerely thank OneWeb for its trust. I am delighted that our company has contributed – for the fifth time – to this client’s ultimate ambition of providing Internet access to everyone, anywhere, at any time.”
Arianespace has launched 146 OneWeb satellites to date. Soyuz successfully orbited the initial six from French Guiana during February 2019. In February and March 2020, Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate successfully launched 68 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome, as well as an additional batch of 36 satellites from the Vostochny Cosmodrome during December 2020. Pursuant to an amended launch contract with OneWeb, Arianespace will perform 14 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 fibre cannot reach, and thereby bridge the digital divide.