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One of the world’s major communications companies, OneWeb, is working on creating a “satellite constellation” of 648 satellites for global broadband coverage. The company has gotten 426 of these satellites into orbit already. But, it sent those satellites into space using Russian-made Soyuz rockets run by the French company Arianespace. Last March, though, OneWeb broke up with the Russian space agency after the invasion of Ukraine.
But on Sunday, OneWeb began making up for lost time. From India, it launched a rocket carrying 36 internet satellites. This launch required using India’s heaviest rocket, which is usually used for government projects. This is OneWeb’s first launch since separating itself from Russia. Now, the company has more than 70% completed of its 648-satellite goal, which will allow it to provide broadband service all over the world. Even with the Russia debacle, OneWeb is on track to activate its constellation by next year.
“We have accomplished the orbit very accurately, now the rocket is in its intended orbit. [Hopefully,] the remaining 20 satellites will get separated as safely as the first of the 16,” said S. Somanath, the chairperson of India’s space agency.
“All our satellites have successfully separated and now we wait as our team works to confirm contact with all our spacecraft,” OneWeb posted on Twitter.