Europe showing ‘interest’ in OneWeb says David Morris
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The OneWeb satellites are pencilled in for a 7pm BST liftoff aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. Weather permitting, a total of 34 broadband-beaming satellites will launch from Kazakhstan to join the British-Indian company’s rapidly expanding constellation. To date, OneWeb has launched 288 satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO), with the goal of expanding the constellation to 650 spacecraft.
After filing for bankruptcy late last year, the company was resurrected by an investment package from the UK Government and Indian company Bharti Global.
OneWeb proceeded to secure a staggering £1.73billion ($2.4billion) in fundraising to roll out the remainder of its satellites.
Much like Elon Musk’s ambitious Starlink project, OneWeb’s satellites will beam broadband to every corner of the globe from space.
The satellites will beam signals in 3G, 5G, LTE and Wi-Fi for high-speed internet access.
But the UK Government is also exploring other applications for the technology, particularly in the realm of real-time positioning and navigation.
Following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, former Prime Minister Theresa May opted to pull out of the Galileo project, which is the EU’s signature global navigation satellite system (GNSS).
Today’s launch is being organised by the French aerospace corporation, Arianespace SA.
Dubbed Flight STS5 or Launch 10, a Soyuz rocket will put the OneWeb satellites into a near-polar orbit at an altitude of about 280 miles (450km).
After rocket separation, the satellites will eventually raise their altitude to an operational orbit.
How to watch the OneWeb satellite launch today:
Courtesy of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos you can watch the OneWeb launch here on Express.co.uk in the embedded video player above.
The Russian live stream is scheduled to kick off at 6pm BST or about one hour before liftoff.
You can also visit directly the Arianespace website here and watch the stream there.
After the OneWeb satellites launch today, the company will hit the halfway mark towards its constellation of 650 satellites.
Arianespace said of today’s launch: “OneWeb’s mission is to bring internet everywhere to everyone, by creating a global connectivity platform through a next-generation satellite constellation in low Earth orbit.
“OneWeb’s constellation of 650 satellites will deliver high-speed, low-latency enterprise-grade connectivity services to a wide range of customer sectors including enterprise, government, maritime and aviation customers.
“Central to its purpose, OneWeb seeks to bring connectivity to every unconnected area where fibre cannot reach, and thereby bridge the digital divide.”
Starting in 2021, OneWeb aims to launch its service in the UK, Alaska, Canada as well as Northern Europe, Greenland and Iceland.
Earlier this year, CEO Neil Masterson said OneWeb aims to bring “connectivity to everyone, everywhere”.
And following the last satellite batch launching on August 21, he said: “We are seeing huge demand for our services from global customers, and we are incredibly excited about scaling our network ahead of its commercial launch.
“This success is down to our talented team and partners around the world, who continue to work relentlessly every day to deliver OneWeb’s constellation and bring connectivity to those in the hardest to reach places.”
Experts have previously told Express.co.uk Airbus in partnership with Airbus UK could develop a system “capable of rivalling” the EU’s Galileo.
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