ZHUKOVSKY /Moscow Region/, August 28. /TASS/. Russia plans to make 12 launches of Soyuz carrier rockets in 2020 to orbit communications satellites produced by the UK-based company OneWeb, CEO of Russia’s Glavkosmos commercial launch operator Dmitry Loskutov told TASS at the MAKS-2019 international aerospace show on Wednesday.
"Twelve launches of Soyuz carrier rockets with OneWeb satellites have been tentatively scheduled for 2020. Two of them will launch from the Kourou spaceport [in French Guiana] and the other from Russian cosmodromes. Specific dates and the number are being agreed with the customer," the Glavkosmos chief executive said.
"It should be noted that we are to have an intensive launch program next year, considering the large number of scheduled OneWeb launches," he said.
The first six OneWeb satellites were launched from the Kourou spaceport aboard a Soyuz-ST carrier rocket at 00:37 a.m. Moscow time on February 28 and successfully delivered into orbit by a Fregat upper stage on the same day.
OneWeb intends to deploy about 600 satellites in the near-Earth orbit and start their commercial operation in 2020. By 2021, OneWeb is set to provide 24-hour communications coverage for the Earth. The OneWeb satellites will operate in the Ka-and Ku-band frequencies.
Under the contract signed between Arianespace and OneWeb in 2015, 21 satellite launches aboard Russian Soyuz carrier rockets are planned from the Kourou and Baikonur spaceports with an option for five extra launches.