SpaceX’s Rocket Launches 40 Satellites To Low-Earth Orbit From Florida Space Station


New Delhi: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched 40 OneWeb satellites to low-Earth orbit on March 9, 2023, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

This was the penultimate mission to complete the first generation (Gen 1) low-Earth orbit satellite constellation of OneWeb, a London-based satellite communications company backed by Bharti Enterprises.

The satellites were launched at 2:13 pm ET (11:43 pm IST) on March 9, OneWeb announced in a statement. Over a period of 40 minutes, the OneWeb satellites separated successfully from the rocket and were dispensed using three separation groups. The last separation occurred one hour and 35 minutes after launch.

OneWeb aims to enable global coverage in 2023, and its latest launch was the penultimate mission that would complete OneWeb’s Gen 1 constellation to fulfil the goal. The launch of 40 satellites by SpaceX on March 9 was OneWeb’s 17th mission to date. Later this month, OneWeb will launch more satellites with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and New Space India Limited (NSIL), in order to complete the UK-based company’s global footprint of Gen 1 satellites. If the launch with ISRO and NSIL is successful, there will be 582 OneWeb satellites in orbit.

OneWeb is trying to grow its fleet of satellites in order to expand its connectivity facilities. The company has partnered with leading providers including VEON, Orange, Galaxy Broadband, Paratus, and Telespazio, among others, to bring connectivity solutions in different regions of the world.

In October 2022, ISRO launched 36 satellites as part of the OneWeb India-1 mission or LVM3 (Launch Vehicle Mark III) M2 mission. The satellites were successfully placed into low-Earth orbit. This marked the first commercial mission of LVM3, India’s heaviest launch vehicle, also known as Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mark III). The OneWeb satellites, meant for global connectivity needs, were launched from the Second Launch Pad, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

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