Bharti-backed OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, today confirmed the successful deployment and contact of 36 satellites launched by NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR) in Sriharikota, India.
Lift-off took place on Sunday, 26th March 2023 at 9:00am local time. OneWeb`s satellites separated successfully from the rocket and were dispensed in nine phases over a period of 1 hours and 14 minutes, with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.
This is OneWeb`s 18th launch, its third this year, bringing the total of OneWeb`s constellation to 618 satellites. The OneWeb constellation design calls for 588 satellites for global coverage and additional satellites are planned for resiliency and redundancy. Thanks to today`s successful launch the constellation is in place to soon deliver global services. By the year-end, OneWeb will be ready to roll out global coverage, enhancing its existing connectivity solutions that are already live in regions north of 50-degrees latitude as it brings new areas online by partnering with leading providers.
This mission marks OneWeb`s second satellite deployment from India, highlighting the strong partnership with NSIL and ISRO and OneWeb`s commitment to provide connectivity across the length and breadth of India. Once activated, OneWeb`s coverage solutions will bring secured connectivity to enterprises, towns, villages, municipalities and schools, including the most remote areas across the country.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Executive Chairman of OneWeb, said: "In my work I have seen the power of connectivity to bring benefits to all, wherever they are. Yet half the world`s population does not have access to fast, reliable connectivity. Today`s launch represents a major step towards closing the digital divide. OneWeb`s global constellation will play a pivotal role in realising this dream.
"I am particularly proud that OneWeb has crossed the threshold to be able to provide its global coverage in India, a country whose ambitions in enhancing Space-based connectivity are being driven by NewSpace India and ISRO. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Government of India`s target to significantly expand access to high-speed internet connectivity is vital, and OneWeb is grateful for all the support. Overall, this is an incredibly exciting time for the satellite connectivity industry, and I am delighted that the UK and India are at the forefront of developments.
"I would like to thank colleagues, our partners, vendors, investors and customers who have realised the potential of OneWeb and made this launch possible. I am incredibly excited for the future of OneWeb and the opportunity its connectivity services provide to communities globally."
Shri. Somanath S, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, ISRO, commmmented: "This launch is a very important milestone for ISRO as we demonstrated the successful launch of a second consecutive commercial payload of OneWeb. This valued customer trusted our capability and we have proved it in a very short span of time. This launch has created a new record in the Indian space history. With this launch of LVM3, through the NewSpace India Ltd, ISRO is confident of handling many more such launches on demand for both LEO and GEO missions in the future. I wish OneWeb a great success in globalizing the completed constellation."
Radhakrishnan D, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NewSpace India Limited, said: "Successful injection of 36 OneWeb Gen-1 satellites from UK by LVM3 today, is an extremely proud moment for NSIL and the entire ISRO fraternity. NSIL, would like to thank M/s OneWeb for believing in our capabilities and giving us this important opportunity to undertake the mission. We are doubly happy, as this mission would mark accomplishment of full constellation and commencement of commercial broadband services globally by M/s OneWeb. NSIL look forward to be associated with M/s OneWeb not only in the area of providing Launch solutions but also in several other business endeavors that would benefit both companies. We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the entire OneWeb`s technical and management team."
UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology Michelle Donelan said: "The completion of the LEO constellation is hugely significant both for OneWeb and the UK`s wider sector.
"We invested in OneWeb`s vision to bridge the global digital divide, and our burgeoning space sector is transforming the UK into the perfect base for likeminded companies to realise their stratospheric potential."
Neil Masterson, Chief Executive of OneWeb, added: "This is the most significant milestone in the history of OneWeb, as we reach the satellites needed for global coverage. Over several years we have remained focused on our commitment to deliver a network that will provide connectivity for our customers and communities that need it most. With today`s satellite deployment, facilitated by our expert team and our partners at ISRO and NSIL, we are realising this central ambition and are even closer to changing lives at scale.
"I would like to pay tribute to all of my colleagues at OneWeb who have driven our rapid momentum and progress over recent years. It is thanks to them that we will be able to deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity around the world later this year."