News

OneWeb ‘80% to target’ after successful Florida launch

OneWeb launch 16.jpg

Satellite company OneWeb has now put 80% of its 648 satellites into orbit, after a successful overnight launch by SpaceX from Florida.

The company said the deployment of 40 satellites (pictured) into low Earth orbit (LEO) meant the company is starting a campaign it is calling “Countdown to Global Connectivity”.

Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, said: “Today’s launch is a thrilling way to start 2023 and at OneWeb, this launch brings us even closer to completing our constellation and launching connectivity services around the world.”

OneWeb now has 542 satellites in orbit, a year after its earlier launch programme was suspected because of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. OneWeb previously used Russian Soyuz rockets. The company has since used SpaceX and an Indian launch service.

The new satellites – and the rest to come over the next few months – mean that OneWeb, which is about to merge with Paris-based Eutelsat, can expand the US, southern Europe, Australia, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Masterson said: “OneWeb believes that connection everywhere changes everything and each of these launches provides us with more capacity to help our partners connect communities, businesses, and governments around the world.”

The company has just two more launches before it completes its full programme of getting 648 satellites in orbit. Under the original management, the company was then planning a second generation of satellites. However, that is likely to await the completion of the takeover by Eutelsat.

Masterson said: “I want to thank SpaceX for their continued support, which has now brought about two successful launches. Every launch is a team effort, and we are grateful to everyone who makes these incredible moments possible.”

SpaceX livestreamed the launch on YouTube.