ISRO will launch the second batch of 36 satellites belonging to One Web (OW) with its rocket LVM3 from Sriharikota on Sunday. If the launch is successful, the Bharati Enterprise-backed U.K.-based company will complete its spacecraft, paving the way to offer space-based broadband internet services to every corner of the world.
“LVM3- M3/One Web India-2 Mission. The launch is scheduled for March 26, 2023, at 0900 hours IST from the second launch pad at SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota,” ISRO tweeted on Monday.
Sunday’s lift-off of 36 satellites will be the 18th launch of OneWeb & will add to the UK-based company’s existing constellation of 582 satellites. On March 9, SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket placed 40 OW satellites in orbit.
ISRO’s commercial arm, NSIL, had signed a contract with OW to launch 72 satellites in two phases for a launch fee of over Rs 1,000 crore. Thereafter, the first batch of 36 OW satellites was launched on October 23, last year.
In a recent tweet, OW thanked ISRO & its commercial wing NSIL for the upcoming launch, saying: Exciting news from India as we confirm the encapsulation of our 36 satellites ahead of #OneWebLaunch18; our final launch, which will complete our Gen1 constellation between the UK & Indian space industries.
India’s Bharti Global, a France-based satellite service provider named Eutelsat, and the U.K. government are the company’s largest shareholders, while Japan’s SoftBank retains an equity holding of 12%.
With Bharti as its major investor, OW will connect towns, villages, and local and regional municipalities in the harder-to-reach areas, thus playing a critical role in bridging the digital divide across India. With each new area covered, OW & its partners can provide internet connectivity to a greater number of unserved & underserved rural & remote communities & businesses, it said.
OW has already launched internet services from space in countries located above 50 degrees north latitude, including Alaska, Canada, Greenland, the UK & Northern Europe.