Bharti Enterprise-backed venture OneWeb has announced that the latest batch of low-earth orbit satellites have reached India and, when launched, they would complete 70% of the intended constellation of 648 satellites
Internet satellite venture OneWeb has announced the arrival of its latest batch of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to be deployed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the coming weeks. If successful, this would be OneWeb’s 14th launch of satellites globally and would complete 70% of the intended constellation of 648 satellites.
OneWeb, backed by Bharti Enterprises, had announced, in April, that it would launch the satellites in collaboration with ISRO. This announcement came after a planned launch with Russian rockets was put in jeopardy, when the country held 36 OneWeb LEO satellites hostage to demands, following the invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian seizure of satellites contributed a $229-million loss to OneWeb’s annual accounting, comprising 58.7% of the company’s total $390-million loss reported last year.
The company is planning a launch at the end of 2022 and three more next year to complete its satellite constellation, staying within their earlier projections of launching services by 2023.
For ISRO, this will mark the first commercial deal for the GSLV rocket, authorised by New Space India Limited (NSIL). NSIL was set up in 2019 to aid in the commercial aspects of ISRO’s launches. It made news earlier this year by successfully launching satellites built by Indian startups Dhruva Space and Digantara, as per reported by YourStory.
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