The second in 2020 launch of the OneWeb satellites under the contract of Glavkosmos with Arianespace was a success
MOSCOW, March 22. – A successful launch of 34 OneWeb satellites aboard the Soyuz-2.1 b launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage was executed on Saturday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The launch of the spacecraft was carried out under the contract between Glavkosmos (part of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos) and Arianespace (French Republic) in close cooperation with other Roscosmos enterprises – Progress Space Rocket Center, Lavochkin Association, and TsENKI.
"I would like to express my gratitude to our foreign partners and all enterprises of the Russian team that made this launch possible despite the difficulties caused by the epidemiological situation in the world. Russia has once again confirmed its status of a reliable partner for our foreign customers," said Dmitry Loskutov, Director General of Glavkosmos.
In accordance with the flight timeline, within 3.5 hours after the separation of the Fregat upper stage from the third stage of the launch vehicle, the satellites were separated from the upper stage in nine groups. All spacecraft are placed into their orbits.
It was the third launch of the OneWeb satellites and it brought the number of OneWeb spacecraft in low Earth orbit to 74. At the OneWeb initiative, the launch is timed to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the first spacewalk, carried out on March 18, 1965, and the launch is named after cosmonaut Alexey Leonov.
The first six OneWeb satellites were launched from the spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) by Soyuz-ST on February 28, 2019. Another batch of 34 OneWeb satellites was successfully launched into their orbits on February 7, 2020 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard the Soyuz-2.1 b with the Fregat upper stage.
In total, OneWeb intends to deploy more than 600 satellites in low Earth orbit and provide 24-hour communication coverage of the Earth.
OneWeb low Earth orbit satellites are designed to provide consumers on the ground with the high-speed Internet directly through satellite communications. The orbital constellation will consist of 18 planes with 36 satellites in each. The satellites are planned for launches from Baikonur, Vostochny, and from the Guiana Space Center.
Glavkosmos, JSC is a subsidiary of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos. The main task of the company is to promote the achievements of the Russian rocket and space industry to world markets and manage complex international projects. For more than thirty years, the company has successfully fulfilled over 120 international contracts, including the launch of more than 140 spacecraft as a secondary payload.
ROSCOSMOS is a State Corporation established in August 2015 to carry out a comprehensive reform of the Russian rocket and space industry. ROSCOSMOS ensures the implementation of the state policy in space activities and its normative and legal regulations, as well as places orders for the design, production and supply of space equipment and space infrastructure. Its functions also include the development of international space cooperation, as well as the establishing of environment for application of space domain achievements for the social and economic evolution in Russia.