Isro to launch 36 OneWeb internet satellites on LVM-3

Isro had in October last year launched the first batch of 36 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

India Today Web Desk

New Delhi,UPDATED: Jan 25, 2023 17:29 IST

Isro Oneweb launch

OneWeb had signed up with Isro and SpaceX after Russia denied launch services. (Photo: Isro)

By India Today Web Desk: Months after OneWeb launched a batch of satellites with the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), the UK-based company sent the second batch to India. The second batch of 36 satellites left the company’s UK facility on Wednesday on an Antonov aircraft.

The satellites are likely to be launched by ISRO on LVM-3 in March this year. Isro had redesignated the GSLV-MkIII launch vehicles as LVM-3 for the launch.

“Our satellites have now been loaded ahead of our upcoming launch with Isro. This is the final time we will load up an Antonov aircraft with our satellites for Gen1, demonstrating how close we are to truly global connectivity,” OneWeb said in a tweet as the aircraft took off.

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Isro had in October last year launched the first batch of 36 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The launch is part of two launch service contracts with M/s Network Access Associated Limited (M/s OneWeb) to launch the satellites.

OneWeb is deploying a satellite constellation. (Photo: OneWeb)

OneWeb recently completed its 16th launch to date, on a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX in Florida, to bring its total constellation to 542 satellites – more than 80% of its Gen1 constellation. “OneWeb remains on track to initiate global coverage in 2023, while its connectivity solutions are already live in the wider Arctic region including Canada, Alaska, the UK, and beyond,” the company said in a statement.

Once the satellites reach India, they will be mated and integrated with the LVM-3 and subjected to key tests to check the validity of the mission.

OneWeb had signed up with Isro and SpaceX after Russia denied launch services following the Ukraine war and sanctions from western countries. The Soyuz rocket was rolled out on the launch at the Russia-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan when the Russian space agency laid out demands in front of the UK government in order to launch the satellite.

The demands included a guarantee that OneWeb satellites will not be used for military purposes, and that the UK government withdraw as a shareholder from OneWeb.

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