OneWeb has reportedly signed a pact with NewSpace India, the commercial arm of ISRO to launch some of its remaining satellites
The Bharti Group-backed company has received the NLD and GMPCS licences and is waiting on the remaining regulatory approvals
OneWeb has already put up 428 satellites out of the 648 total satellites it plans to put in orbit for its constellation
OneWeb, the Bharti Group-backed satellite-based broadband company, has said that it is on course to launch its satellite-based broadband services in India regardless of the launch delays caused by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
According to a OneWeb spokesperson quoted in an ET report, the company will look to launch its remaining low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites from the Sriharikota-based Satish Dhawan Space Centre launch platform.
While OneWeb admitted that the company’s launch schedule was impacted by the Ukraine crisis, it plans to use Indian launching capabilities in 2022 itself to serve India’s market at the earliest. Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, OneWeb could not access a key cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
To that extent, OneWeb has reportedly signed a pact with NewSpace India, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to launch some of its remaining satellites. OneWeb has already put up 428 satellites out of the 648 total satellites it plans to put in orbit for its constellation.
The company has already received the national long distance (NLD) and the global mobile personal communications by satellite service (GMPCS) licences to deliver satellite broadband in India.
The company also expects to have all pending regulatory approvals from the government soon. OneWeb is still seeking approvals for satellite landing rights and market access approvals from the government, which would allow it to set up ground-based satellite gateways in India and provide service to people in the country.
For the uninitiated, a satellite-based broadband service works by using hundreds, or even thousands of satellites providing broadband coverage across the globe, even to the most remote locations.
For instance, OneWeb’s constellation of satellites consists of 648 satellites orbiting 1,200 km above Earth’s surface, giving it global coverage. At the same time, Elon Musk-led SpaceX’s Starlink service is lining up potentially tens of thousands of satellites in multiple orbits to provide satellite broadband service.
Starlink, one of OneWeb’s biggest competitors, has already launched 2,091 satellites in orbit. It plans to launch nearly 12,000 satellites, with a possible later extension to 42,000 satellites over the next few years.
However, Starlink has faltered in India as the DoT told the company to stop operations and obtain relevant licences first in November 2021, after which it stopped taking preorders in the country. It is still working on obtaining relevant licences, and it looks like that right now, OneWeb is winning the space (broadband) race in India.