Soyuz launches 34 UK OneWeb satellites
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Aug 22, 2021
A Russian Soyuz rocket has blasted into space carrying 34 new satellites from British operator Oneweb, which aims to provide broadband internet everywhere in the world.
The rocket operated by Europe's Arianespace took off successfully at 2213 GMT Saturday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Roscosmos space agency said in a statement.
It was the fifth launch of OneWeb satellites this year, with the last one on July 1.
OneWeb is working to complete the construction of a constellation of low earth orbit satellites providing enhanced broadband and other services to countries worldwide.
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.
With this latest mission, a total of 288 satellites are now in orbit for the constellation.
Russia's Soyuz Spacecraft Launches 34 New OneWeb Satellites Into Orbit
Baikonur, Kazakhstan (Sputnik) Aug 20, 2021
Initially, the launch was scheduled for August 5, but due to satellite production problems, it was reportedly postponed, as some devices had to be replaced because of low-quality components at the company's factory in Florida. Russian space agency Roscosmos will launch a Soyuz 2.1b spaceship with a new batch of 34 UK OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday night. Earlier in the day, the State Commission approved the upcoming launch and allowed the rocket to be refu ... read more
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