Arianespace to orbit the first six satellites of the OneWeb constellation
For its second mission of the year — and the initial flight in 2019 with the Soyuz medium launcher — Arianespace will perform the first launch for the OneWeb constellation.
By operating this maiden flight, out of 21 launches on behalf of the global satellite operator, Arianespace participates in the fulfilment of its customer’s ultimate ambition: providing Internet access for everyone, everywhere.
This mission will bring the number of constellation satellites orbited by Arianespace to 109, which shows a remarkable ability to deploy any type of constellation with its current and future family of launchers.
The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Monday, February 25, 2019 in Kourou to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.
Flight VS21, the 21st Soyuz mission from the Guiana Space Center, will put six OneWeb F6 satellites for U.S operator OneWeb into a circular low Earth orbit at 1,000 km. (close to their operational orbit), along with four Mass Flight Simulators (MFS) that will not be separated from the launcher’s dispenser system.
OneWeb’s mission is to deliver global communications through a next-generation satellite constellation that will bring seamless connectivity to everyone, everywhere. With its system deployed, the OneWeb constellation will enable user terminals capable of offering 3G, LTE, 5G and Wi-Fi coverage, giving high-speed access around the world – by air, sea and land.
Composed of approximately 650 satellites, OneWeb initial constellation will be orbited by Arianespace using 21 Soyuz launchers operated through 2020 from Kourou in French Guiana, Baikonur in Kazakhstan, and Vostochy in Russia.
OneWeb Satellites – a joint-venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space – is the prime contractor of the constellation. RUAG Space AB, on the other hand, is in charge of the development and production of the innovative
dispenser system that will carry the six satellites and the four Mass Flight Simulators aboard Flight VS21. As for APCO Technologies, it is responsible for designing and building the four Mass Flight Simulators.
To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary in French and English from the launch site), go to arianespace.com or to youtube.com/arianespace on February 26, 2019, beginning 20 minutes before liftoff.
Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 590 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.
Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 15 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.