OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications startup backed by Bharti Global, has launched 36 satellites today, 1 July, at 6:18 pm IST. With flight named Flight ST33, the launch took place from the Soyuz launch complex in Vostochny Cosmodrome, a Russian spaceport.

The launch took place just days after Bharti Global invested $500 million in OneWeb for a 38.6% stake in the company. With the launch of these 36 satellites, OneWeb completes its ‘Five to 50’ mission and has a total number of 254 satellites.

"The latest launch takes OneWeb’s in-orbit constellation to 254 satellites, or 40 percent of OneWeb’s planned fleet of 648 Low Earth Orbit satellites that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity,” said OneWeb.

“With this major milestone, the Company is ready to deliver connectivity across the United Kingdom, Canada, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, and the Arctic Region. OneWeb intends to make global service available in 2022.”

The launch took place at Russian spaceport Vostochny Cosmodrome and was conducted by Arianespace, one of the major satellite launching companies in the world.

Earlier in last month, UK-based Network Access Associates (NAA), a OneWeb Group company, announced the acquisition of up to 74% stake in OneWeb India Communications as the latter gears up to run gateways and enter the bandwidth leasing business before launching fast satellite broadband services in India next year.

The $500 million investment by Indian billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal run Bharti Global makes it the largest shareholder in the firm.

"Today’s momentous milestone demonstrates that OneWeb is now a leader in Low Earth Orbit broadband connectivity, serving a wide range of stakeholders across the Northern Hemisphere,” Mittal said in the statement.

"This fifth launch amid the unprecedented global pandemic is truly remarkable, and I congratulate the management team and fellow shareholders on the success. Bharti’s doubling of its investment earlier this week is a testament to the commitment to OneWeb’s mission."

"How long you can be killing each other [operators], we will not hesitate on raising tariffs, but cannot do it unilaterally."


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