Flight ST29: Soyuz lifts off from Vostochny Cosmodrome with its payload of 36 OneWeb satellites
Soyuz has lifted off from Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome, carrying the next 36 satellites to join OneWeb’s constellation – which will be deployed during a sequence lasting just under 3 hours, 52 minutes from liftoff to separation of all spacecraft passengers.
Payload lift performance for today’s mission – which is designated Flight ST29 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – is estimated at 5,810 kg.
The Soyuz 2-1b launcher version utilized for Flight ST29 is the result of a joint European/Russian upgrade program, adding a more powerful third stage engine that significantly increases the launcher’s overall performance. As a member of the modernized Soyuz-2 series, it features a digital control system that provides additional mission flexibility and also enables control of the launch vehicle fitted with the enlarged 4.1-meter-diameter ST payload fairing.
This mission’s Soyuz is equipped with a re-ignitable Fregat upper stage, which is routinely used on Arianespace missions to extend the launcher’s capability. For today’s flight, the Fregat stage will perform multiple reignitions/propulsion burns while delivering the OneWeb satellites into a near polar orbit at an altitude of 450 kilometers. After completion, the upper stage is to make a final burn for deorbiting.
Flight ST29 is Arianespace’s fourth mission at the service of OneWeb – following two missions earlier this year and one in 2019, which deployed a total of 74 satellites. OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture founded by OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space, is prime contractor for the constellation.