Arianespace Soyuz rocket launches 34 more OneWeb internet satellites to orbit
Nearly three dozen OneWeb internet satellites took flight today (Sept. 14), continuing to build out the company's broadband constellation, Space.com reports.
A Soyuz rocket topped with 34 OneWeb spacecraft launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today at 2:07 p.m. EDT (1807 GMT; 1:07 a.m. Sept. 15 local time in Baikonur).
If everything goes according to plan, all 34 satellites will have deployed into a near-polar orbit with an altitude of 280 miles (450 kilometers) by about three hours and 45 minutes after liftoff. The solar-powered spacecraft will then gradually make their own way to their operational orbit 746 miles (1,200 km) above Earth.
That migration will bring the number of satellites in OneWeb's constellation to 322, nearly half of its envisioned size. The London-based communications company is assembling a network of 648 spacecraft, which will beam broadband service down to people around the globe.
"Once deployed, the OneWeb constellation will enable user terminals that are capable of offering 3G, LTE, 5G and Wi-Fi coverage, providing high-speed access globally — by air, sea and land," Arianespace representatives wrote in a prelaunch statement.