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OneWeb successfully lofts another 40 satellites

OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company soon to merge with Eutelsat, has successfully launched 40 satellites launched via SpaceX from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Lift-off took place on Thursday, March 9. The company said that signal acquisition on all 40 satellites has been confirmed.

This launch is OneWeb’s 17th to date, and the penultimate mission to complete its first-generation (Gen 1) LEO satellite constellation and enable global coverage later this year.

With 582 LEO satellites now in orbit, OneWeb said it will complete its global footprint of the Gen 1 constellation with a launch scheduled for later this month with ISRO/NSIL.

OneWeb currently has has connectivity solutions active today in a number of territories and is partnering with providers including Veon, Orange, Galaxy Broadband, Paratus and Telespazio

Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, said: “Today’s launch is an exciting milestone as we are now just one mission away from completing our Gen 1 constellation, which will activate global service in 2023. Now more than ever, OneWeb is dedicated to continuing the momentum we have garnered from the past 17 successful launches, to innovate alongside our trusted partners and deliver connectivity solutions at scale. Each launch is a group effort, and today’s success would not have been possible without the dedication of the entire launch team and our partners here in Florida.”

Eutelsat and OneWeb, whose shareholders include the UK government, last year agreed a merger of the pair in an all-share transaction that will seek Eutelsat and OneWeb shareholders each hold 50% of Eutelsat’s shares post-merger.

The merger will see the pair combine Eutelsat’s GEO and OneWeb’s LEO constellations in a bid to capture what is seen as a growing market for connectivity in emerging markets.

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