OneWeb Signs With ISRO for 2022 Launch
OneWeb signed a launch agreement with New Space India Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for a 2022 launch, the company announced Wednesday.
OneWeb is working to ensure its Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation has launch access after a planned Soyuz launch campaign with Arianespace at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan was stymied by Russia’s war in Ukraine. OneWeb also signed a similar launch contract with SpaceX signed in March.
OneWeb anticipates the first launch with New Space India to take place this year from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota. This follows after OneWeb signed a letter of intent with New Space India last year to explore future launches from India.
The announcement did not include financial terms, or any more specifics on the number of launches or how many OneWeb satellites would be included in a launch. India has two operational launchers: the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
“This is yet another historic day for collaboration in space, thanks to the shared ambition and vision of New Space India and OneWeb. This most recent agreement on launch plans adds considerable momentum to the development of OneWeb’s network, as we work together across the space industry toward our common goal of connecting communities globally,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, OneWeb executive chairman.
The Indian Space Association (ISpA) welcomed the partnership as well. ISpA Director General, retired Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt commented: “It’s a historic development and this will surely pave the way for a greater participation of private space players, resulting a boost to Indian space economy. This partnership has the potential to drive the attention of many international players towards India’s capabilities, leading to significant increase in our share in the international space economy which is just 2.6% currently and at the same time contribute to nation building and economic growth of the country.”