OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between Airbus and OneWeb to design and manufacture the satellites, is set to launch around 34 satellites for the OneWeb constellation from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on February 7 at 2:42 am local time.
The satellites which arrived in two shipments, including one last week, have been tested, and have now been fitted into the dispenser of the Soyuz-2.1b rocket.
The satellites, which are manufactured at 1/50th of the cost of a traditional spacecraft, are all fitted with plasma thrusters enabling them to reach their correct position in low Earth orbit at 1,200km.
The OneWeb constellation will provide global connectivity with an initial 650 satellites. OneWeb aims to provide affordable, high-speed internet connectivity everywhere for everyone, by 2021.
Commenting on the upcoming launch, Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Airbus Space Systems, said: “This launch will be a massive step forward for OneWeb – one step closer to the ambition of improving global connectivity. These 34 satellites will join the six currently operating flawlessly in orbit. Our joint venture OneWeb Satellites produces two satellites a day – in series production, just like Airbus makes planes.”
Tony Gingiss, CEO OneWeb Satellites, added: “Watching the first batch of the launch of our factory-built satellites from the Soyuz will be the realisation of a four-year journey … and just the beginning. Our factory continues to ramp up and streamline our production to deliver the next batch … and the next … and the next!”