Bharti group backed OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company on Thursday said the company and New Space India Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, have entered an agreement to ensure OneWeb completes its satellite launch programme.
The first launch with New Space India is anticipated in the late half of this year from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota, the company said in a statement.
The launches will add to OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation of 428 satellites — 66 per cent of the planned total fleet — to build a global network that will deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity, it said.
“This is yet another historic day for collaboration in space, thanks to the shared ambition and vision of New Space India and OneWeb. This most recent agreement on launch plans adds considerable momentum to the development of OneWeb’s network, as we work together across the space industry toward our common goal of connecting communities globally," said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Executive Chairman of OneWeb.
This launch contract follows a separate agreement between OneWeb and SpaceX to enable the company to resume satellite launches, announced last month.
OneWeb has already activated service with its network at the 50 th parallel and above, as demand for the company’s broadband connectivity services continues to grow from multiple sectors and markets.
Other terms of the agreement with New Space India are confidential, the company added.
According to industry veterans, the partnership will pave the way for greater participation of private space players, resulting in a boost to Indian space economy.
“This partnership has the potential to drive the attention of many international players towards India’s capabilities, leading to a significant increase in our share in the international space economy which is just 2.6 per cent currently. It will also contribute to nation building and the economic growth of the country,” said AK Bhatt, Director General, Indian Space Association (IspA).