Soyuz rocket with British satellites launched from Baikonur cosmodrome
Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle successfully launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome. On board are communications satellites of the British company OneWeb. The broadcast is on the Roscosmos website.
The Soyuz launch was postponed twice. First on August 19: due to a malfunction in the launch complex. The second time is on 20 August. Then the launch was postponed by OneWeb due to errors in the software of the ground-based satellite control complex.
The Soyuz rocket flew for nine minutes, after which the Fregat upper stage began an autonomous flight. Communication satellites will be transported into orbit in three hours and 45 minutes. OneWeb devices (34 pieces) will begin to separate from the “Fregat” in groups.
After this launch, there will be 288 OneWeb satellites in orbit. The British company intends to launch satellite communications services on a commercial basis by the end of 2021. By June 2022, OneWeb plans to provide broadband Internet access to users around the world. By this time, 648 vehicles will have to provide full coverage of the Earth's surface.
Earlier it was reported that up to 10 launches of Soyuz rockets with OneWeb satellites are planned from the Baikonur, Vostochny and Kuru cosmodromes in 2021.