MOSCOW (Reuters) – As 36 of its satellites blasted into orbit from Russia’s Far East, OneWeb, the satellite firm rescued by the British government and India’s Bharti Company, resumed flights on Friday in its push to provide worldwide broadband coverage.
The first fully commercial flight from Russia’s new Vostochny cosmodrome, Russia’s Roscosmos Space Corporation said, was the launch of Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate.
“The Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle together with a Fregat booster and 36 @OneWeb communication satellites lifted off from the #Vostochny cosmodrome,” it tweeted.
The launch would increase the number of OneWeb in-orbit satellites to 110, part of a 648 low-earth orbit fleet designed to provide global high-speed, low-latency connectivity, the satellite operator said.
The launch in the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada in 2021 could place it on track to provide commercial services, it added in a statement ahead of the launch.
OneWeb said last month it had emerged with $1 billion in equity funding from a consortium of the UK government and Bharti Enterprises of India, the new owners of the UK-based firm, from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Established in 2014 by entrepreneur Greg Wyler, OneWeb intended to launch 650 low-earth orbit satellites to provide a universal internet, but was stuck in a constant fight to raise funds.