Arianespace’s upcoming Soyuz mission will provide a new boost to OneWeb’s satellite constellation
This week’s flight of Arianespace’s medium-lift Soyuz launcher is to orbit 36 more OneWeb satellites, placing these constellation spacecraft into a near-polar orbit at an altitude of 450 kilometers.
With the launch scheduled from Vostochny Cosmodrome on March 25 at 11:47 a.m. local time, this mission has a payload lift performance estimated at 5,803 kg. It will be performed by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate, marking their second commercial mission from Russia’s newest launch base.
To date, 110 OneWeb satellites have been orbited, all on Soyuz launch vehicles from three sites on two continents. The initial six spacecraft were successfully lofted by Arianespace from French Guiana in February 2019. This was followed by three missions in 2020: February and March flights conducted by Arianespace and Starsem from Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying a total of 68 satellites; while a December mission delivered an additional 36 on the maiden commercial flight from Vostochny Cosmodrome.
Launch services to bring internet everywhere…for everyone
This cut-away image shows the 36 OneWeb satellites on their dispenser system, which is mated to Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage.
OneWeb is creating a global connectivity platform through its next-generation satellite constellation, delivering high-speed, low-latency connectivity services to a wide range of customer sectors – including aviation, maritime, backhaul services, as well as governments, emergency response services and more.
Its spacecraft are produced by the OneWeb Satellites joint venture of OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space, and they are deployed from Soyuz using a dispenser system developed by RUAG Space AB of Linköping, Sweden as prime contractor.
The upcoming mission from Vostochny Cosmodrome – designated Flight ST30 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – will have a total duration of nearly four hours from liftoff to separation of the final satellites. It will utilize the three-stage Soyuz vehicle that is equipped with a Fregat upper stage, which is to perform multiple powered phases in deploying the 36 satellites during nine separation sequences.
ST30 launch window
Liftoff is scheduled for March 25, 2021 at exactly: