This event marks the start of a regular launch campaign taking place during 2020 that will rapidly grow OneWeb’s first-phase constellation of 648 satellites and represents one of the largest civilian satellite launch campaigns in history. Each satellite will be an integral part of the OneWeb high-speed global satellite broadband network, and together they will activate OneWeb’s first customer demos by the end of 2020 to provide full commercial global services, with aviation, as well as sectors such as maritime, government and enterprise following in 2021.
In this first launch of 2020, 34 satellites will be aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle. Launch service provider, Arianespace will perform the launch, which will place the satellites into a near polar orbit at an initial altitude of 450km (280 miles) from where they will rise to their final orbit of 1,200km (746 miles) and form part of OneWeb’s global communications network. All the satellites are manufactured by OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space.
OneWeb has chosen the theme Space for Everyone for the first event in its 2020 launch programme, to demonstrate how space is becoming more relevant to everyday life as an important source of connectivity.