Soyuz-2 rocket launching latest batch of OneWeb satellites from Kazachstan launch site

Soyuz-2 rocket launching latest batch of OneWeb satellites from Kazachstan launch site.

The latest batch of OneWeb satellites was launched on a Soyuz-2 rocket operated by Arianespace. The launch took place from the Baikonur launch facility in Kazachstan.

Arianespace is one of the world’s leading satellite launch company, operating a full family of launchers: Ariane 5 for heavy lift spacecraft, the Soyuz for medium size and Vega for light weight spacecraft.

The French multinational company was the world’s first commercial launch serviceprovider and operates five locations worldwide for the production, operation and marketing of the Ariane program. Arianespace operates its launch services from South America (at the Spaceport in French Guiana) and Central Asia (at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazachstan).

The company was founded in 1980 and has its headquarters in Courcouronnes, France, near Paris. Arianespace, a subsidiary of The Arianegroup, launched more than 550 satellites since 1980. Total revenues in 2018 exceeded 1.4 billion euros.

On 21 October 2011 Arianespace launched the first Soyuz rocket ever from outside former Soviet territory. The payload was two Galileo navigation satellites.

Arianespace primary shareholders are its suppliers, in the various nations of the EU. Arianespace currently has 20 shareholders with France as the largest stakeholder (64%) in the Ariane development program. Other countries that support the program are Germany (20%), Belgium (3,5%), Denmark, Spain (2%), Italy (3%), The Netherlands (2%), Norway (0,1%), Sweden and Switzerland (2,7%).

Arianespace launched satellites for all major satellite operators, such as Intelsat, Eutelsat, Telesat, SKY Perfect JSAT from Japan, ISRO from India, Hellas-Sat (ArabSat) and many others.

OneWeb satellite operator is a global communications company formerly known as WorldVu Satellites, Ltd. The company was formed by Greg Wyler and was originally a planned satellite constellation consisting of 648 microsatellites to provide worldwide Internet access for on individual consumers and airlines.

OneWeb’s mission was to enable affordable Internet access for everyone, connect every school on Earth and bridge the digital divide by 2027. OneWeb is building a communications network with a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, operating at 750 miles (1,200km) altitude, that will provide connectivity to billions of people around the world.

The current design of the OneWeb satellite network consists of 648 micro satellites of about 125 kg. Each satellite is capable of delivering at least 8Gbs of throughput to provide Internet access to homes and mobile platforms using its high throughput Ku-band payload. OneWeb is considering nearly quadrupling the size of the satellite constellation by adding 1,972 additional satellites that it has priority rights to.

For the financing of the satellite constellation, OneWeb raised nearly 2 billion USD in equity from shareholders with deep industry and distribution expertise, including Qualcomm, Hughes, satellite operator Intelsat, Coca-Cola, Airbus Group, Richard Branson’s Virgin Groupand the Softbank Group of Japan.

The company will be one of the world’s largest launch purchasers and reserved launch capacity from launch operators Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Arianespace and Virgin Orbit.