London-based satellite communications company Network Access Associated Limited (OneWeb) on Sunday said its partnership with ISRO and the space agency's commercial arm NSIL demonstrated its commitment to provide connectivity across the length and breadth of India by 2023.
From Ladakh to Kanyakumari and Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh, OneWeb will bring secured solutions not only to enterprises but also to towns, villages, municipalities and schools, including the hardest-to-reach areas across the country, it said.
"OneWeb's commitment to enhance connectivity in India is backed by Bharti Global, its largest investor," the company said in a statement.
OneWeb confirmed the successful deployment of 36 satellites launched by NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC- SHAR) in Sriharikota.
"This launch by ISRO and NSIL is one of the biggest commercial orders by India's premier space organisation, and the first using the LVM3 rocket," OneWeb noted. The lift-off took place on Sunday at 12.07 am.
OneWeb's satellites separated successfully from the rocket and were dispensed in nine phases over a period of one hour and 15 minutes, with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.This is OneWeb's 14th launch, bringing the constellation to 462 satellites. This launch represents more than 70 per cent of its planned 648 low earth orbit (LEO) satellite fleet that it said will deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity worldwide.
With only four more launches to go, OneWeb said it remains on track to activate global coverage in 2023, while its connectivity solutions are already live in regions north of 50-degrees latitude.
"This (Sunday's launch) will pave way for more launches in the future. The interaction with OneWeb was so seamless, right from the receipt of the satellites until injection," ISRO Chairman S Somanath was quoted as saying.
Executive Chairman of OneWeb Sunil Bharti Mittal said today's launch is a significant milestone for OneWeb.
"This new phase of our launch programme from India brings us a step closer to not only enhancing our global coverage but also delivering connectivity in India and South Asia, particularly to the communities who need it most," Mittal said.
"Today, my dream of having an Indian element in the OneWeb constellation has been realised. This launch with ISRO and NSIL opens up the space sector in India with the possibility of billions of dollars flowing into the country," he added.
NSIL Chairman-cum-Managing Director Radhakrishnan D said: "We look forward to strengthening our partnership with OneWeb and utilising the potential that LEO connectivity has to deliver broadband services across India."