OneWeb, a UK-based satellite communication services provider, has entered into an agreement with the Indian Space Agency ISRO to launch satellites from India. This will make OneWeb the first private player to enter the Indian space market facilitated by the launch of the Indian Space Association, which aims to privatise the growing space sector in the country.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, which is the largest stakeholder of OneWeb, disclosed that OneWeb’s collaboration with ISRO was moving at a very fast pace and will open up more doors for international private players to turn to India for its launch services.
While speaking at the launch of space and satellite companies body Indian Space Association, Mittal said “OneWeb will be the first customer which starts to bring a commercial position into the Indian space market.”
According to his address at the inaugural event, OneWeb will be launching satellites through the Indian Space Research Organisation’s heaviest launch vehicle Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-Mk III), which has a capacity to launch up to ten tonnes into lower earth orbit (LEO) and four tonnes into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and its workhorse PSLV rocket.
Revealing that OneWeb only has 322 satellites in space so far, Mittal said that the company is looking to launch its services in India, “from oceans, deserts, forests and importantly, the rural hinterland,” from the middle of next year.
With the help of ISRO, OneWeb endeavours to increase its launching capabilities to expedite its initiative to build a constellation of 650 satellites in the lower earth orbit (LEO) that will provide internet connectivity through space.