British-based firm OneWeb launched 34 satellites into orbit from a cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, expanding its in-orbit constellation to 322 satellites, it said on Wednesday.
The satellites lifted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome at 8.07pm South African time on Tuesday, it said in a statement.
OneWeb plans to launch a total of 648 low-earth orbit satellites to roll out a high-speed global Internet connection including to the most remote corners of the world.
The launch, carried out by Arianespace, keeps OneWeb on track to start a service in swathes of the northern hemisphere this year and to deliver a global service next year, it said.
OneWeb resumed satellite launches in December after emerging from bankruptcy protection with US$1-billion in equity investment from a consortium of the British government and India’s Bharti Enterprises.
It has received further financing from Bharti as well as investment from Eutelsat Communications and Japan’s Softbank. — Reported by Tom Balmforth, (c) 2021 Reuters