OneWeb set to complete Gen1 constellation with launch of 36 satellites by ISRO

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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.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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