Bharti Enterprises-owned OneWeb on Friday launched 40 new satellites into orbit with Elon Musk-owned spacecraft manufacturing company SpaceX from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. With this launch, OneWeb’s total fleet in space has now risen to 582 satellites.
The launch of satellites is crucial for OneWeb in order to provide global internet coverage this year through its satellite broadband services. The company targets to take its total satellite count in space to 648. The company is expected to launch more satellites in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).
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“We are now just one mission away from completing our Gen 1 constellation, which will activate global service in 2023. Now more than ever, OneWeb is dedicated to continuing the momentum we have garnered for the past 17 successful launches, to innovate alongside our trusted partners and deliver connectivity solutions at scale,” said Neil Masterson, chief executive officer of OneWeb.
OneWeb already has connectivity solutions in Alaska, Canada, the UK, Greenland and the wider Arctic area and the company is also bringing new areas online by partnering with companies like VEON, Orange, Galaxy Broadband, Paratus, Telespazio, and more.
In India too, the company has got licence to provide satellite-based broadband services that might get launched as well this year. Currently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is working to start a consultation process for allocation of satellite spectrum.
“India will be the first one to handle the issue of auction of space-based spectrum…and we will come out with the consultation paper in due course,” Trai chairman PD Vaghela had said in December. “We can suggest that the space spectrum should be put to auction, but that should also not kill the sector. That is very important. Any system which we will bring in, will be to actually encourage and promote investment in the sector and not increase any burden and that is the biggest challenge and we are conscious of these,” he said.
Also read: ISRO to conduct challenging satellite re-entry experiment on March 7
Apart from OneWeb, companies like Space X-owned Starlink, Tata’s Nelco
In October last year, OneWeb had launched 36 satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in collaboration with ISRO and NSIL.