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Second batch of OneWeb satellites reaches India, ISRO set for March launch



The communications satellites will be launched by Isro’s Launch Vehicle Mark-III. In October last year, the Indian space agency successfully launched the first batch of 36 satellites by OneWeb from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.


A batch of 36 satellites of OneWeb reached India on February 16 from the US for their launch in the middle of March, the UK-based satellite communications firm said in a statement, and the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said on Saturday that it is in the final stages of preparing its heaviest rocket for the purpose.

“Following an almost 9,000 mile trip from Florida, our satellites have successfully arrived on site in India and we have begun integration ahead of our upcoming launch with Isro and NewSpace India Limited,” OneWeb said. “This marks the beginning of another giant leap toward global coverage from OneWeb.”

The communications satellites will be launched by Isro’s Launch Vehicle Mark-III. In October last year, the Indian space agency successfully launched the first batch of 36 satellites by OneWeb from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, marking the rocket’s entry into the global commercial launch service market.

A week after that, Isro successfully conducted the flight acceptance hot test of the CE-20 engine in the high-altitude test facility of its propulsion complex at Tamil Nadu’s Mahendragiri for 25 seconds for the second batch of satellites that are expected to be placed on low earth orbit in March this year.

OneWeb, private satellite communications company, has India’s Bharti Enterprises as a major investor and shareholder. NewSpace India, a central public sector enterprise under the department of space, had earlier signed two launch service contracts with the London-headquartered Network Access Associated Limited that runs OneWeb.

Isro’s LVM3 rocket is capable of launching four-tonne class of satellites to geosynchronous transfer orbit. It is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strapons, a liquid propellant core stage and a cryogenic stage. The OneWeb satellites will be placed in orbit at an altitude of 1,200km above the earth’s surface.


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