Satellite internet venture OneWeb has successfully completed the first launch of six satellites in a programme which aims to have 650 satellites in place to deliver full global commercial coverage by 2021.
The satellites separated from the rocket in two batches after their launch from French Guiana on February 27, and One Web has confirmed that signal acquisition has been achieved for all six satellites, which were manufactured by a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space.
This launch marks the beginning of the largest satellite launch campaign in history, with OneWeb aiming to carry more than 30 satellites per rocket on a monthly launch programme to see more than 650 satellites in place in time for customer demos in 2020.
OneWeb’s satellites will provide Ku-band connectivity to its customers, while the satellites will use Ka-band links to communicate with the ground network that connects the OneWeb satellite system to the Internet.
“This successful launch is a historic milestone for OneWeb, and marks the start of a new phase for our company as we begin scaling our satellite constellation in preparation to start full commercial services,” said Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb.
“OneWeb was founded to make access possible for everyone, everywhere, and this launch is the first step towards making our goal a reality and bringing much-needed Internet access to people no matter where they are.”
“Our system will be able to offer significantly lower latency and faster speeds. We designed our system to create a coverage footprint over the entire planet – including previously unconnected rural areas, seas, and airspaces. Our world is increasingly connected, and we do not want to leave anyone behind. Our constellation will level the playing field and connect the communities, areas, and industries that have until now been excluded from fast, reliable Internet access.”