OneWeb successfully launches 36 satellites after rapid year of progress

OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, has confirmed its successful deployment of 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The latest launch, the company’s twelfth overall and ninth since December 2020, brings OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 394 satellites. This represents over 60 percent of OneWeb’s planned 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

This launch caps off a successful 2021 in which OneWeb gained significant momentum across the board. With strong shareholder support, the business is now fully-funded with $2.7bn USD raised since November 2020 and no debt issuance.

Liftoff of the latest launch occurred on 27 December at 13:10pm BST. OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches over a period of 3 hours 45 minutes with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.

OneWeb will enter the new year in a position of strength, as it plans to launch global service by the end of 2022 and as demand continues from telecommunications providers, aviation and maritime markets, ISPs, and governments worldwide for its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services to provide businesses and consumers.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, OneWeb executive chairman, said: “OneWeb now has over sixty percent of its global satellite fleet in space. It is an extraordinary achievement for a company that was reborn just a year ago. OneWeb's shareholders, Management, Staff and Distribution Partners all share a common goal – connecting communities everywhere. Together we are delivering on our promise to achieve digital transformation on a global scale, through our robust, secure and resilient satellite broadband network.”

Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, said: “The launch is a great way for OneWeb to complete a highly successful year. With more than sixty percent of our constellation now in space, the business is  fully-funded and we have a growing workforce of more than 400 people. I have been immensely proud to lead the business and our team over the last year as we continue to make substantial progress launching our global network, and I look forward to building on this momentum in 2022.”