Roskosmos has successfully launched the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage and 36 new OneWeb spacecraft.
The rocket was launched from the Vostochny cosmodrome today, May 28, 2021, at 20:38 Moscow time. The rocket was supposed to be launched a day earlier, but the launch was postponed for a day for technical reasons.
At 20:48 Moscow time, the upper stage separated from the third stage of the carrier on a suborbital trajectory. According to the press service of Roscosmos, the launch, separation of the stages and the orbital block took place in the normal mode.
The Fregat upper stage continued to launch 36 OneWeb satellites into a target circular orbit with an altitude of 450 kilometers. Over the next 3 hours and 40 minutes, the satellites will be sequentially separated in groups of four from the Russian “accelerator”.
This launch was the fourth fully commercial from the Vostochny cosmodrome, implemented under contracts with the Russian-French company Starsem and the European Arianespace (operator of OneWeb spacecraft launches using the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle). It should bring the number of OneWeb satellites in orbit to 218.
OneWeb intends to deploy a low-orbit constellation of more than 600 microsatellites (weighing 150 kg) to provide high-speed broadband Internet access services everywhere, whose customers should primarily be Wi-Fi, LTE or 5G operators, as well as Internet providers.