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NEW DELHI : Bharti-backed OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company launched 36 satellites from Sriharikota, taking the total to 618. The satellite constellation will enable global connectivity solution by the year-end. 

This mission marks OneWeb’s second satellite deployment from India, highlighting the strong partnership with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) and ISRO. Once activated, OneWeb’s coverage solutions will bring secured connectivity to enterprises, towns, villages, municipalities and schools, including the most remote areas across the country, the company said in a statement. 

Sunil Bharti Mittal, executive chairman of OneWeb, said: “Today’s launch represents a major step towards closing the digital divide. OneWeb’s global constellation will play a pivotal role in realising this dream. I am particularly proud that OneWeb has crossed the threshold to be able to provide its global coverage in India, a country whose ambitions in enhancing Space-based connectivity are being driven by NewSpace India and ISRO. Overall, this is an incredibly exciting time for the satellite connectivity industry, and I am delighted that the UK and India are at the forefront of developments." 

Somanath S, secretary, department of space and chairman, ISRO, commented: “This launch is a very important milestone for ISRO as we demonstrated the successful launch of a second consecutive commercial payload of OneWeb.  This valued customer trusted our capability and we have proved it in a very short span of time. This launch has created a new record in the Indian space history."   

This is OneWeb’s 18th launch, its third this year, bringing the total of OneWeb’s constellation to 618 satellites. The OneWeb constellation design calls for 588 satellites for global coverage and additional satellites are planned for resiliency and redundancy. The company said in the statement that by the year-end, OneWeb will be ready to roll out global coverage, enhancing its existing connectivity solutions that are already live in regions north of 50-degrees latitude as it brings new areas online by partnering with leading providers. 

“The completion of the LEO constellation is hugely significant both for OneWeb and the UK’s wider sector. We invested in OneWeb’s vision to bridge the global digital divide, and our burgeoning space sector is transforming the UK into the perfect base for likeminded companies to realise their stratospheric potential," said UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology Michelle Donelan. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gulveen Aulakh
Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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Updated: 26 Mar 2023, 06:55 PM IST
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