Flight VS21, the 21st Soyuz mission from the Guiana Space Center, will put the first six OneWeb satellites 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.
The first to sixth OneWeb satellites to be launched by Arianespace on Flight VS21 are designated OneWeb F6.
In June 2015, Arianespace and OneWeb signed an agreement for the deployment of Phase no.1 of the eponymous constellation, covering 21 launches with the medium-lift Soyuz to orbit the initial constellation satellites from three spaceports (Kourou in French Guiana; the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan; and Vostochny, Russia) through 2020.
OneWeb’s mission is to deliver global communications through a next-generation satellite constellation that will bring seamless connectivity to everyone, everywhere.
To achieve its purpose, OneWeb is building a network composed of Low Earth Orbit satellites that will provide high-speed, low latency services to a range of markets including aeronautics, maritime, backhaul services, community Wi-Fi, emergency response services and more. Central to its mission, OneWeb will also be focused on connecting unconnected schools and working to bridge the digital divide for people 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.
OneWeb’s initial constellation will be compromised of approximately 650 satellites and will scale to more than 900 satellites as it grows to meet demand around the world. OneWeb will begin customer demos in 2020 and provide global, 24-hour coverage to customers in 2021.
OneWeb Satellites – a joint-venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space – is the prime contractor of the constellation. The OneWeb F6 spacecraft were built in its Toulouse-based serial production line dedicated to the assembly, integration, and test of the first satellites.
OneWeb F6 will be the 1st to 6th OneWeb satellites to be launched by Arianespace, which has the next satellites of the initial constellation left in its order book.
They will also be the 124th to 129th Airbus Defence and Space spacecraft launched by Arianespace, whose backlog (excluding the OneWeb satellites) consists of 21 additional satellites.
APCO Technologies, is responsible for designing and building the four Mass Flight Simulators that are carried on Flight VS21.