Successful launch of 34 satellites

Posted on 26 Feb 2020 and read 366 times
Successful launch of 34 satellites OneWeb launched 34 satellites on 6 February, to help deliver ‘affordable global communications from space’. The UK-based company aims to provide world-wide Internet coverage; it received £18 million of UK Space Agency funding — through the European Space Agency (ESA) — to develop its next-generation satellite constellation.

This investment also supports the development of ‘novel automation techniques and artificial intelligence’ to manage the spacecraft and their interaction with terrestrial networks to deliver global 5G connectivity.

The launch, from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, marked the start of one of the largest civilian launch campaigns in history, which aims to create a constellation of 648 satellites.

Catherine Mealing-Jones, director of growth at the UK Space Agency, said: “There is huge commercial potential for a cost-effective world-wide telecoms satellite system, and the UK space sector is playing a leading role in delivering it, building on our world-leading capabilities in satellite telecommunications, connectivity and data.

"Satellite telecoms are central to bringing fast responsive services to people and communities right across the UK
and around the world.”

OneWeb (www.oneweb.world), which has its Global Operations Centre in White City (London), plans to provide its first customer demonstrations by the end of 2020 and full commercial global services for sectors such as maritime, aviation, government and enterprise in 2021.

The UK Space Agency licensed the 34 satellites for launch; it regulates the use of space by UK organisations and individuals through the Outer Space Act 1986.

This requires satellite operators to demonstrate that they have considered any associated risks and have safeguards in place, such as the ability to manoeuvre satellites to avoid debris and other spacecraft, and to de-orbit them at the end of their lifetime.

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