Bharti-backed OneWeb takes in-orbit constellation to 182 satellites

The Milky Way blazes above the European Southern Observatory (ESO) facilities at Mount Paranal in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert. Paranal hosts the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical observatory, the Very Large Telescope (VLT), and is home to two new telescopes for large imaging surveys currently under construction, the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA). Both are expected to “take up duty” in the 2009-2010 timeframe. This photograph shows an edge-on view of the Milky Way’s glowing plane slicing across the night sky, laced by bands of dust and dark gas. Taken with a digital camera using a three-minute exposure, the photograph also reveals a bit of action on the ground. To the left, a vehicle with its parking lights on stops lets out a passenger. Though bathed by the light of the Milky Way, the high-altitude desert remains quite dark. To illuminate the rightward path to the underground entrance ramp of the ‘Residencia’, where staff and visitors stay, the passenger takes along a small flashlight, seen as a squiggly bright line. In the lower right, the glass dome on the Residencia’s roof reflects the starry sky overhead. One of our Milky Way’s galactic satellites, the Large Magellanic Cloud, is seen hanging above the Residencia in the lower right corner of the image.

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Bharti group-backed Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company OneWeb on Monday confirmed the successful launch of another batch of 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

This successful launch brings OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 182 satellites.

These will form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity, and represents 60 percent of the constellation required to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021, the company said in a statement.

“With this successful launch, we are rapidly building momentum, we are launching more satellites, demonstrating the network and announcing more distribution singings around the globe,” said Neil Masterson, CEO, OneWeb.

This was the third in a five-launch ‘Five to 50′ programme, enabling OneWeb to offer services across the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas and Canada, and will be switched on before the end of the year.

OneWeb then intends to make global service available in 2022.

OneWeb signed an MoU with the government of Kazakhstan this month as it continues to demonstrate the company’s commercial viability and the confidence customers have in its services and offering.

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