A Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat booster, carrying 36 OneWeb communication satellites, has been launched from Russia’s Vostochny spaceport, TASS reported.
Nine minutes later the Fregat booster and communication satellites have separated from the third stage of the rocket. The launch was broadcast live on the Russian space agency Roscosmos’ website.
“The booster has separated from the third stage of the carrier rocket,” a launch commentator said.
It will take about four hours for the booster to deliver the satellites into orbit.
OneWeb currently has 146 satellites in operation, all of which were put into orbit by Soyuz rockets. The first six OneWeb satellites were orbited by a Soyuz-ST carrier rocket from the Kourou spaceport on February 28, 2019. Another 34 satellites were delivered into orbit on February 7, 2020, and 34 more on March 21, 2020, from the Baikonur spaceport. OneWeb satellites were first launched from the Vostochny spaceport in December 2020. A total of 36 space vehicles were put into orbit. Another launch took place on March 25, 2021.
OneWeb’s renewed agreement with the French launch service provider Arianespace includes the lift-off of 16 Russian Soyuz carrier rockets from the Kourou, Vostochny and Baikonur spaceports in 2020-2022. Each launch allows orbiting 34-36 satellites.