MOSCOW: A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying 36 British telecommunications and internet satellites lifted off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East on Friday, the space agency said.
During the launch, which was carried out by Arianespace, the world’s leading satellite launch company, the Soyuz rocket took off at 5:38 p.m. GMT.
“The launch went according to plan,” Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Roscosmos space agency, told the Telegram messaging app.
The launch was originally scheduled for Thursday but has been postponed for technical reasons.
OneWeb, a London-based company, is working to complete the construction of a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites providing enhanced broadband and other services to countries around the world.
The company competes with billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in the race to provide fast internet connection via satellites to remote parts of the world.
The British company expects its global commercial internet service to be operational by next year, supported by some 650 satellites.
Previous launches of 36 satellites have each taken place in April and March.
“The satellites arrive pre-assembled from Florida in containers. Our team supports them in Russia and accompanies them from their arrival at the airport until the launch, ”said Jean-Claude Garreau, head of the Arianespace launch campaign.
The satellites are then launched in clusters of 36 and they separate into groups of four when in orbit, he added.
Posted in Dawn on May 29, 2021