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Business News/ News / India/  ISRO launches 36 OneWeb satellites with its GSLV rocket
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ISRO launches 36 OneWeb satellites with its GSLV rocket

The mission marked the second launch of the year for OneWeb, backed by Bharti Enterprises
  • The company’s constellation of satellites will be used to beam internet connectivity to terrestrial regions
  • OneWeb is likely to start its satellite internet connectivity services by 2023.Premium
    OneWeb is likely to start its satellite internet connectivity services by 2023.

    New Delhi: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully deployed the latest batch of 36 satellites for satellite operator OneWeb, aboard its heavyweight configuration Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)-Mk.III rocket. The launch marked the first commercial mission that used ISRO’s GSLV, also known as the Launch Vehicle Mark III (LVM3).

    The mission marked the second launch of the year for OneWeb, backed by Bharti Enterprises, after the conflict in Ukraine disrupted the UK operator’s plan for completing its satellite launches this year. Prior to the Ukraine-Russia war, OneWeb was using Russia’s central space agency Roscosmos' commercial launch services through its Soyuz rockets.

    However, amid geopolitical sanctions imposed on Russia by nations including the UK, erstwhile Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin said that the OneWeb satellites would not be released back to the company — unless the UK government ceded to the nation’s demand of removing the sanctions.

    OneWeb, which lost 36 satellites as a result, said in its financial statement released in September this year that it took a hit of $230 million.

    In an official statement, OneWeb said that it has now launched and deployed 462 of its intended 648 satellites in a low-Earth orbit. The company’s constellation of satellites will be used to beam internet connectivity to terrestrial regions, in a service that is tipped to rival the likes of Elon Musk-backed Starlink by SpaceX, Jeff Bezos-backed Project Kuiper, and Reliance Jio in partnership with Luxembourg-based SES.

    OneWeb added that it now has four more launches left in order to complete its constellation, following which it will start its satellite internet connectivity services by 2023.

    The mission also marked one of the first in an expectedly large industry of private sector demand for satellite launches — which India seeks to capitalize on through its newly established commercial space contracts division, New Space India Limited. In July this year, Anil Prakash, director general of industry body Satellite Industry Association of India (SIA), told Mint that global satellite operator demand could see over 60,000 private satellite launches take place by 2025, of which India will seek to capture a part.

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    Published: 23 Oct 2022, 01:17 PM IST
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