“This will be the second launch designed to assemble a constellation of 650 satellites.
Nearly three dozen OneWeb internet satellites will ride to orbit atop a single rocket today (Feb. 6), and you can watch the liftoff live.
A Soyuz rocket carrying 34 of OneWeb’s broadband spacecraft is scheduled to launch today at 4:42 p.m. EST (2142 GMT) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. You can watch the liftoff live here at Space.com, courtesy of OneWeb, or directly via the company.
This will be the second launch for OneWeb, whose first six satellites went up on a Soyuz in February 2019. But there will be many more such liftoffs to come; the company aims to build a constellation of at least 650 satellites in low Earth orbit, which will provide internet service to people around the world.
OneWeb is not alone in this ambition; SpaceX has already lofted 240 of its Starlink broadband satellites and plans to launch thousands more in the near future. And Amazon has mapped out its own network, called Project Kuiper, but has yet to launch any satellites for it.
If all goes according to plan today, the Soyuz will deploy the 34 OneWeb craft at an altitude of 280 miles (450 kilometers) about 3 hours and 45 minutes after liftoff. The satellites will then make their own way to their operational orbit, which lies about 745 miles (1,200 km) above Earth.
European company Arianespace will operate the Soyuz today, along with many more in the near future for OneWeb, which has headquarters in London and Virginia. Arianespace plans to conduct 19 more Soyuz launches for OneWeb in 2020 and 2021, according to the mission press kit.
OneWeb’s constellation should start providing service on a test basis sometime this year and be fully up and running by 2021, company representatives have said.”