Preparations for the first in 2020 OneWeb satellite launch are nearing completion
BAIKONUR, February 3. – The Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the Fregat-M upper stage and 34 OneWeb communications satellites aboard has been transported from the Assembling and Testing Facility and installed at the Launch Complex, Site 31 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
The launch activities are carried out under the contract between Glavkosmos, JSC (a subsidiary of Roscosmos) with the French company Arianespace for the launch of OneWeb satellites. Specialists of the Russian rocket and space industry are performing the final technical operations. Pre-launch tests of Soyuz-2.1b systems are being conducted, and the interfaces between onboard and ground equipment are being checked.
The representatives of Roscosmos and Glavkosmos, as well as the authorized representatives of Arianespace and OneWeb, observed the transportation to the Launch Complex. "The Commission gave a positive conclusion and approved the measures for transporting the launch vehicle and its preparation for the upcoming launch. We are confident of the high professionalism of the Russian specialists involved and we are getting ready for the launch of Soyuz with OneWeb satellites aboard," said Dmitry Loskutov, Director General of Glavkosmos.
The launch of the Soyuz-2.1b LV with the Fregat-M upper stage and 34 OneWeb satellites is scheduled for February 7, 2020 at 00: 42: 41 Moscow time. The upper stage is to separate from the third stage 562 seconds after lift-off. During the next 3.5 hours, in accordance with the flight timeline, the spacecraft will be separated from the Fregat-M upper stage and placed into orbits.
The first six OneWeb satellites were launched from the spaceport in Kourou by Soyuz-ST on February 28, 2019 (Feb. 27, 18:37 local Guiana time). In total, the company intends to deploy about 600 satellites in LEO and begin their commercial use in 2020. By 2021, OneWeb intends to 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.