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Russian rocket launches UK telecom satellites
by AFP Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) July 1, 2021

A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying 36 UK telecommunication and internet satellites blasted off from the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia's Far East on Thursday, the Roscosmos space agency said.

Images released by Roscosmos showed the Soyuz rocket, launched by Europe's Arianespace, taking off against dark skies at 1248 GMT.

"We have lift-off," OneWeb, a London-headquartered company, said on Twitter.

OneWeb is working to complete the construction of a constellation of low earth orbit satellites providing enhanced broadband and other services to countries around the world.

The company is competing against billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in the race to provide fast internet for the world's remote areas via satellites.

The UK company plans for its global commercial internet service to be operational by next year, supported by some 650 satellites.

Arianespace, which has worked with Russia for close to two decades, is under contract to make 16 Soyuz launches between December 2020 and the end of 2022.

This year launches of 36 satellites took place in March, April and May.

"Taking our constellation to a total of 254 satellites, this launch will allow us to provide complete coverage north of 50 degrees latitude by the end of the 2021," OneWeb said.



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OneWeb and BT to explore rural connectivity solutions for UK
London, UK (SPX) Jun 29, 2021
OneWeb, the global communications network powered from Space, and BT (BT.L), one of the world's leading communication services companies, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to explore the provision of improved digital communication services to some of the hardest to reach parts of the UK. The groundbreaking agreement between OneWeb and BT comes as investment in expanding modern, digital infrastructure remains a top priority for the UK's economic recovery and development post-COVID. ... read more

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