Low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company Bharti-backed OneWeb has successfully deployed 34 satellites to space in the first launch of 2022, the company has said.
The launch brings OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 428 satellites and represents 66 percent of OneWeb’s planned 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.
The new satellites were launched atop the Arianespace Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana on Thursday.
OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches over a period of three hours 33 minutes with signal acquisition on all 34 satellites confirmed.
“Our first launch of the year marks our significant progress in completing a truly global LEO network later in 2022,” said Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, in a statement.
“We continue to see growing demand for OneWeb’s industry-leading services as we look forward to delivering on our ambition to build robust, secure, and global access to broadband services,” he added.
The satellites target sectors including aviation, maritime, backhaul, governments, and emergency response services, the company said.
Further, the company also presented a set of practices deemed as the Responsible Space initiative, which sees space as a shared natural resource.
This includes responsible design and operations, sustaining the space ecosystem to support new technologies to advance in this area and, engaging in advancing policy outcomes to balance growing the space economy while ensuring its protection.
The next batch of OneWeb satellites is currently scheduled to lift off on March 5 on another Soyuz rocket, this time carrying 36 OneWeb satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the company said.