NEWS/ POLICY UPDATES
36 Oneweb Satellites Arrive in India to be Launched By ISRO on GSLV MK-III
36 satellites part of a constellation by OneWeb arrived in India on Tuesday to be launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The satellites arrived at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC- SHAR) and will be launched from Sriharikota.
The satellites will be launched onboard ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV MK-III) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre as part of an agreement signed between the United Kingdom-based firm and the NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).
While ISRO is yet to say anything about the launch date, it is expected to happen in October.
The company in a release said that with this launch, OneWeb will have more than 70 per cent of its planned Gen 1 Low Earth orbit (LEO) constellation in orbit as it progresses to deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity services around the world. The launch will be the company’s 14th mission to deploy these satellites into orbit.
“Undertaking the launch of 36 OneWeb satellites onboard GSLV MK-III from India is a historic moment for NSIL and ISRO. We are excited to see the arrival of the satellites and the ground support equipment in India in preparation for the launch,” Radhakrishnan D, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NewSpace India Limited, said in a statement.
OneWeb had to look for new launch partners after relations between the West and Russia soured. it is worth mentioning that OneWeb was using the Russian Space Agency launch services to deploy its satellites into orbit. Russia had denied launching the satellites even after integrating three dozen of them with the launch vehicle and moving it on the pad.
The Soyuz rocket was rolled out on the launch at the Russia-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan when the Russian space agency laid out demands in front of the UK government in order to launch the satellites. The demands included a guarantee that OneWeb satellites will not be used for military purposes, and that the UK government withdraw as a shareholder from OneWeb.
OneWeb has since then partnered with not only the Indian space agency but also its rival SpaceX for launch services. SpaceX is also deploying satellite constellations to provide internet connectivity across the world, and its chief, Elon Musk had recently said that the service is now accessible on all continents, including Antarctica.