MOSCOW, June 25 /TASS/. Russia will grant 21 Soyuz carrier rockets to Arianspace, European multinational company, between 2017 and 2019 for launching OneWeb mobile communications satellites, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) said in a report received by TASS on Thursday.
"The Arianespace and One Web have announced plans in London to sign a contract for commercial launches of One Web mobile communications satellites by using Soyuz carrier rockets between 2017 and 2019. Twenty-one Soyuz carrier rockets, including 15 from the Baikonur space launch facility in Kazakhstan, will have to be launched to fulfil these plans," the report said.
Roskosmos clarified that if implemented successfully, the contract provides an option for at least five additional Soyuz launches after 2020.
"The contract is going to be the biggest in the history of providing launching services," the report quoted Roskosmos Chief Igor Komarov as saying.
"The choice of a Soyuz carrier rocket is a sign of great marketability of Russian rockets and other space crafts.
Roskosmos also said that the contract with Arianspace would provide a number of enterprises in the Russian rocket and space industry with work and orders for years ahead.
Russian rockets will launch satellites weighing up to 150 kilograms. Under the contract, 672 satellites of the base group will be put in orbit the near-polar orbit at an altitude of 1, 200 kilometers. The head enterprise of the Airbus Defence and Space Corporation in Toulouse, France, will manufacture a satellite for a demonstration flight scheduled for late 2017. All the other satellites will be produced by a Florida-based joint venture set up by the OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space companies.