Low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company OneWeb has announced its plans to collaborate with the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), to utilise indigenously built Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the heavier Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-MkIII) as likely platforms to launch OneWeb’s satellites in India from next year.
The Bharti Group-backed satellites communication company plans to offer its high-speed, low latency connectivity services in India and the rest of the world by late 2022. Service testing on these satellites is underway and the results have been positive so far. Currently, OneWeb is building a constellation of 648 LEO satellites and has already put 322 satellites into orbit. Besides India, services will begin this year for the Arctic region including Alaska, Canada, and the UK.
The letter of intent comprising the details of this arrangement was unveiled during the launch of the Indian Space Association (ISpA) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. OneWeb is one of the founding members of ISpA which aims to work for the development of India’s space ecosystem. This letter of intent will soon be converted into a binding agreement after the necessary approvals from the respective boards of OneWeb and NSIL.
“ISRO has built formidable launch capabilities and India is part of the select group of countries to have history of successful launches. OneWeb will be delighted to use ISRO’s proven platforms to fulfill its vision of taking broadband connectivity across the earth, oceans, and sky. We believe this initiative will further the Honorable Prime Minister’s vision of making India a key hub in the global space ecosystem and also boost the India-UK strategic partnership. We look forward to a deeper engagement with NSIL/ISRO over the coming years,” OneWeb chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said on the deal.
ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said that the national space agency was delighted to have OneWeb on board for utilising their launch capabilities to meet the “global ambition to connect people everywhere.”
Meanwhile, OneWeb will launch its 11th satellite on October 14 and has 36 more satellites to launch. The company currently has 322 satellites in space.
Edited by Mehak Agarwal
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