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First two groups of OneWeb satellites launched from Baikonur separate from booster

The Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket blasted off from the spaceport at 16:10 Moscow time

MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. The first two groups (eight space vehicles) of British OneWeb communications satellites launched atop a Russian Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket from the Baikonur spaceport separated from the rocket’s booster, the federal space agency Roscosmos announced on its Twitter on Monday.

"The first and second groups of OneWeb satellites separate from the Fregat booster," the statement says.

The Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket blasted off from the Baikonur spaceport at 16:10 Moscow time on December 27. It will take the booster over eight hours to orbit the satellites. The satellites will separate in several stages. After the process has been completed, the OneWeb orbital cluster will increase to 394 satellites.

This is the first launch of as many as 36 OneWeb satellites from the Baikonur spaceport. Before that, Russian Soyuz rockets orbited 34 British communications satellites in each launch from the spaceport in Kazakhstan.

British OneWeb low-orbit satellites are designed to create a space-based communications system to provide high-speed Internet access in any locality worldwide.