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SpaceX Launch Takes OneWeb Constellation to 582 Satellites

By Rachel Jewett | March 9, 2023

      SpaceX launches 40 satellites for OneWeb on March 9. Photo: SpaceX

      SpaceX launched an additional batch of 40 satellites for OneWeb on Thursday, increasing OneWeb’s constellation to 582 satellites. OneWeb is a Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) connectivity provider and competitor to SpaceX’s Starlink constellation. 

      The Falcon 9 mission took off from Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on March 9, at 2:13 p.m. The satellites were deployed to Low-Earth Orbit in a series of three deployment sequences over the 1 hour and 35-minute mission. OneWeb confirmed all satellites were successfully deployed and signal acquisition was successful. 

      This was OneWeb’s third launch with SpaceX. OneWeb began launching with the U.S. launch provider after Russia’s war in Ukraine stymied its Soyuz missions from Kazakhstan with Arianespace.  

      With this launch, OneWeb only has one more launch remaining before its first-generation constellation is complete, and the company maintains it is on track to deliver global coverage in 2023.

      “Today’s launch is an exciting milestone as we are now just one mission away from completing our Gen 1 constellation, which will activate global service in 2023,” OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson said. “Now more than ever, OneWeb is dedicated to continuing the momentum we have garnered from the past 17 successful launches, to innovate alongside our trusted partners and deliver connectivity solutions at scale. Each launch is a group effort, and today’s success would not have been possible without the dedication of the entire launch team and our partners here in Florida.”

      Separately, OneWeb announced a deal this week adding telco Orange as a distribution partner. Orange plans to integrate OneWeb’s LEO technology, to enterprise customers and telco operators across Europe, Africa, Latin America, and other global regions.