VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME /Amur Region/, October 14. /TASS/. A Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with a Fregat booster and 36 British OneWeb communications satellites blasted off from the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East, TASS reported from the scene.
In about nine minutes after the blast-off, the Fregat booster with the satellites separated from the rocket’s upper stage. It will take the booster about four hours to orbit the satellites. The satellites will separate in several stages.
This is the sixth fully commercial launch of OneWeb satellites from the Vostochny spaceport. The British satellites were delivered to the Ignatyevo aerodrome in Blagoveshchensk by an An-124-100 plane and subsequently transported to the Vostochny spaceport. The launch will increase the OneWeb orbital constellation to 358 satellites.
The first six OneWeb satellites were orbited by a Soyuz-ST carrier rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana on February 28, 2019. Another 34 satellites were delivered into outer space on February 7, 2020 and the same amount on March 21 that year from the Baikonur spaceport.
OneWeb satellites were launched from the Vostochny spaceport for the first time in December 2020. A total of 36 space vehicles were put into orbit. After that, OneWeb satellites were launched on March 25, April 26, May 28 and July 1, 2021 from the Vostochny spaceport and on August 22 and September 14 this year from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
The launch program is being implemented under a contract of Glavkosmos (a subsidiary of Roscosmos) with Arianespace (the launch operator) and Starsem. OneWeb’s renewed agreement with the French Arianespace stipulates the lift-off of 16 Russian Soyuz carrier rockets from the Kourou, Vostochny and Baikonur spaceports in 2020-2022. Each launch allows orbiting 34-36 OneWeb satellites.
Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin told reporters on April 9 that the OneWeb first generation cluster would be established in late 2022 - early 2023.