(Moscow) A Russian Soyuz rocket, operated by the European Arianespace, on Thursday launched 36 new satellites from the British operator OneWeb, which is deploying a constellation to provide high-speed internet anywhere in the world.
The rocket took off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far East, according to images broadcast live by the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
“The take-off from Vostochny went normally. The separation of the main unit and the first ignition of the operating motor of the Frigate acceleration unit took place on time, ”the head of the Russian space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, said on Twitter.
This is the seventh OneWeb satellite launch this year, three weeks after the September 14 launch. A total of 358 satellites will now be in orbit for this constellation.
OneWeb, owned by the British government with the Indian Bharti, foresees an operational global internet at the end of 2022 thanks to a network of 650 satellites. Under a contract with the European Arianespace confirmed in September 2020, 16 Soyuz shots are scheduled between December 2020 and the end of 2022 to complete the network.
Several projects with a view to setting up constellations providing space and a global internet are in progress.
The American billionaire Elon Musk, head of the space company SpaceX, has already put into orbit for this purpose more than 1,500 satellites to create the Starlink network.
Amazon founder American Jeff Bezos has a similar project called Kuiper.
Russia wants to stay in the space race and has multiplied ambitious projects ranging from space tourism to the construction of its own station in orbit to replace its aging segment on the ISS.