Arianespace successfully deploys OneWeb constellation satellites
(25 March 2021 - Arianespace) Today’s launch, Flight ST30, was the 55th Soyuz mission carried out by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate.
Performed on Thursday, March 25 at precisely 11:47 a.m. local time at Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome (02:47 a.m. UTC), Flight ST30 orbited 36 new OneWeb satellites – bringing the size of the fleet in orbit to 146.
OneWeb's launch on Soyuz Flight ST30 from Vostochny Cosmodrome (courtesy: Roscosmos)
“Congratulations to all the teams who made this latest mission from the Vostochny Cosmodrome a success. This launch confirms Arianespace's ability to deploy the OneWeb constellation through the use of three different Soyuz launch sites – in French Guiana, Kazakhstan and Russia,” said Stéphane Israël, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace. "I want to sincerely thank OneWeb for its trust. I am delighted that our company has contributed – for the fifth time – to this client's ultimate ambition of providing Internet access to everyone, anywhere, at any time.”
Arianespace has launched 146 OneWeb satellites to date. Soyuz successfully orbited the initial six from French Guiana during February 2019. In February and March 2020, Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate successfully launched 68 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome, as well as an additional batch of 36 satellites from the Vostochny Cosmodrome during December 2020.
Pursuant to an amended launch contract with OneWeb, Arianespace will perform 14 more Soyuz launches through 2021 and 2022. These launches will enable OneWeb to complete the deployment of its full global constellation of low Earth orbit satellites by the end of 2022.
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. The OneWeb constellation will deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity to a wide range of customer sectors, including aviation, maritime, backhaul services, and for governments, emergency response services and more. Central to its purpose, OneWeb seeks to bring connectivity to every place where fiber cannot reach, and thereby bridge the digital divide.
The satellite prime contractor is OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture of OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space. The satellites were produced in Florida, USA in its leading-edge satellite manufacturing facilities that can build up to two satellites per day on a series production line dedicated to spacecraft assembly, integration, and testing.
Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 800 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America); Baikonur, Kazakhstan; and Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore. Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 15 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.
Starsem markets and operates Soyuz launches from Baikonur for the international market. Its shareholders are Arianespace, ArianeGroup, the Russian space agency Roscosmos and the Samara Space Center (TsSKB-Progress).