Arianespace helps boost global connectivity with its latest Soyuz mission at the service of OneWeb
Thirty-four satellites are now on their way to join OneWeb’s next-generation constellation following Arianespace’s second launch of 2020 – and its first this year using the venerable Soyuz – which was successfully performed from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan.
The cluster of spacecraft – produced by the OneWeb Satellites joint venture of OneWeb and Airbus – was deployed into a circular low Earth orbit on February 7 during a flight lasting 3 hours and 45 minutes from liftoff to final payload separation. It was conducted by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate.
After an initial powered phase of Soyuz’ three lower stages, the flight – designated ST27 in Arianespace’s numbering system – included two burns of the Fregat upper stage to place its passengers at their targeted deployment points. Total lift performance was estimated at 5,504 kg.
Arianespace and OneWeb
“Arianespace and Starsem are delighted to announced that the 34 satellites entrusted on this Soyuz launch have been separated as planned!” said Stéphane Israël, CEO for both companies, in his post-launch comments from Baikonur Cosmodrome. “This ST27 mission from Baikonur is another step towards making OneWeb’s global network a reality.”
Arianespace is to perform 19 more Soyuz launches – along with the first launch of Ariane 62 – for OneWeb, from three different space centers.
Bridging the digital divide with OneWeb
Flight ST27 was Arianespace’s second launch on behalf of the global satellite operator – following the February 2019 Soyuz mission from French Guiana that successfully orbited OneWeb’s first six satellites. The company’s initial constellation is based on approximately 650 satellites and will scale to more than 900 as it grows to meet demand around the world.
OneWeb’s constellation supports a wide range of markets, including aeronautics, maritime, backhaul services, community Wi-Fi, emergency response services and more. The operator also is focused on connecting unconnected schools and working to “bridge the digital divide” for people everywhere.
“For us it’s a big day,” said OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel after the success was confirmed. “This is an important step in deploying our full constellation.”
He added: “We look forward to continuing our deep partnership with Arianespace, as well as with Soyuz.”
Continuing the mission pace in 2020
Up next in Arianespace’s launch calendar is Flight VA252 from the Spaceport in French Guiana, which will utilize and Ariane 5 to orbit satellite passengers for SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) on a mission planned for February 18. It will be the company’s second launch this year from French Guiana, following Arianespace’s year-opening Ariane 5 success on January 16.
Read the press release on Arianespace/Starsem’s successful Flight ST27.
High-resolution photos and Flight ST27 liftoff video, are available in the Gallery.
More details are available in the Soyuz Flight ST27 launch kit: