OneWeb, the UK-headquartered global satellite communications company, is scheduled to launch its second batch of 34 satellites on 6-7 February 2020 on board a Soyuz 2.1B satellite launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
This marks the start of OneWeb’s regular launch campaign for 2020, which will grow its first phase constellation of 648 satellites. These satellites will form OneWeb’s high-speed global satellite broadband network and together will activate OneWeb’s first customer demos by the end of 2020. The network aims to provide full commercial global services for sectors such as maritime, aviation, government, and enterprise in 2021.
Arianespace will perform the launch, which will place the satellites into a near polar orbit at an initial altitude of 450 kilometers, rising to a final orbit of 1,200 kilometers. The satellites are manufactured by OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space.
OneWeb’s goal is to connect everyone everywhere. It is one of several companies looking to build a low-Earth orbiting (LEO) megaconstellation of communications satellites in order to provide global high-speed satellite broadband with low-latency for the provision of data coverage and Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity. Other companies include SpaceX’s Starlink, Telesat, and Amazon’s nascent Project Kuiper.