Engineers have completed the integration of the 36 OneWeb satellites with the Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM-III) to Low Earth Orbit. The satellites, part of the UK’s internet constellation, will be launched on India’s heaviest launch vehicle in mid-March.
The Indian Space Research Organisation has confirmed the launch. However, it is yet to give details about the final launch date and when the rocket will be rolled onto the launch pad from the assembly building.
LVM-III is the same as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle. However, it has been designated as LVM-III for the mission. The sole reason behind changing the name of the vehicle from GSLV to LVM is that the rocket will not deploy the satellites in a geosynchronous orbit.
“exciting update from our team in India as we confirm the successful integration of our 36 satellites ahead of our upcoming launch with ISRO and NSIL India. Thanks to our team working on site as we mark another step closer to completing the OneWeb global constellation,” OneWeb said.
The satellites arrived in India earlier this month for integration from Florida.
This will be the second launch of the internet constellation by OneWeb from India after the first batch of 36 satellites was launched in 2022. The launch is part of two launch service contracts with M/s Network Access Associated Limited (M/s OneWeb) to launch the satellites.
OneWeb recently completed its 16th launch to date, on a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX in Florida, to bring its total constellation to 542 satellites – more than 80% of its Gen1 constellation.
Isro launched the first batch of 36 OneWeb satellites in October last year from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
The satellites will be part of the 468-satellite constellation of OneWeb released into Leo Earth Orbit to provide Internet access to areas that are impossible to provide.