MOSCOW – OneWeb, a satellite company rescued by the British government and India’s Bharti Group, resumed flights Friday in a bid to secure global broadband coverage as 36 of its satellites flew into orbit from Russia’s Far East.
The launch, carried out by Arianespace and its subsidiary Starsem, was the first fully commercial flight from Russia’s new Vostochny cosmodrome, Russia’s Roscosmos space corporation announced.
“The Soyuz-2.1b rocket along with the Frigate-booster and 36 @OneWeb communication satellites were lifted from the #Vostochny cosmodrome,” it tweeted.
The launch will expand the number of satellites in orbit to 110, to 110, part of a 648 low-orbit fleet designed to establish high-speed, low-latency global connectivity, the satellite operator said.
The launch should put on the right track the provision of commercial services in Britain, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, Artic Seasima and Canada in 2021, it added in a statement ahead of the launch.
OneWeb announced last month that it came out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with a $ 1 billion capital investment from a consortium of the UK government and Indian company Bharti Enterprises, the new owners of the UK-based company.
OneWeb, founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Greg Wyler, planned to launch 650 satellites into low Earth orbit to provide universal internet, but remained in a constant fundraising battle.