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posted by martyb on Wednesday February 12 2020, @05:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the Gives-new-meaning-to-World-Wide-Web dept.

OneWeb's first large batch of satellites launch on Arianespace Soyuz rocket

A Soyuz rocket launched 34 small broadband satellites for OneWeb Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, marking the beginning of a multi-launch campaign for the company.

[...] The launch expands OneWeb's constellation of low Earth orbiting satellites to 40, following a Soyuz launch last February that carried six satellites.

Adrian Steckel, OneWeb's chief executive, told SpaceNews the company has another batch of 34 satellites launching from Baikonur in March before the company plans to take a monthlong break to implement spacecraft software and hardware changes. After that pause, OneWeb plans to launch once in May and once in June before potentially shifting out of a monthly launch cadence, he said.

Steckel said OneWeb still plans to achieve global coverage by the end of 2021. The company is building its satellites in Florida through a joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space called OneWeb Satellites.

Counting Thursday's launch, OneWeb plans to conduct a total of 17 or 18 Soyuz launches and one Ariane 6 launch with Arianespace to orbit 588 satellites before the end of next year, Steckel said. After those launches, OneWeb will pause again before deciding a schedule for launching 60 spares, completing the 648-satellite first-generation constellation, he said.

See also:
Op-ed | SpaceX's adaptation to market changes
SpaceX Starlink is a step closer to beaming satellite internet to Australia

OneWeb Joins the Satellite Internet Gold Rush this Week

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12 2020, @10:44AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12 2020, @10:44AM (#957158)

    So ... I wonder why they didn't use SpaceX for the launches? I can understand Ariane via Airbus Defence and Space but why Proton? Ariane doesn't want to give any money to SpaceX because spite or what?

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12 2020, @12:13PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12 2020, @12:13PM (#957167)

    Proton is cheap (compared to other expendable rockets) and reliable. Ariane was probably too big, and Proton just right for the lanch? SpaceX (Starlink) is a direct competitor for the same market.
    I can't vouch for the C-suite , but you may safely assume that at least engineering put a lot of reasoning behind this multi-millon-dollar choice.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday February 12 2020, @05:22PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 12 2020, @05:22PM (#957268) Journal

      Iridium used SpaceX to replace its entire constellation recently. Some would say that Starlink might be a direct competitor.

      Since nobody defrags SSDs anymore, they are more (or less?) prone to failure of their seek mechanisms.
    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday February 12 2020, @05:32PM

      by Freeman (732) on Wednesday February 12 2020, @05:32PM (#957277) Journal

      While I wouldn't expect SpaceX to do anything that would harm their rocket launch business. I wouldn't be super comfortable giving my direct competitor more fuel to burn me with.

      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"