OneWeb pays about Rs 2,000 cr to India for launching 72 satellites

By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), Oct 22 (IANS): The UK-based Network Access Associated Ltd (OneWeb) will be paying about Rs 2,000 crore to the Indian space agency to launch its 72 satellites, said a top group official.

He also said OneWeb's merger with the French satellite company Eutelsat Communications is likely to be completed around April-May of 2023. OneWeb will be a 100 per cent subsidiary of Eutelsat Communications.

Speaking to reporters here, Sunil Mittal Bharti, Chairman, OneWeb said the company will be paying Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) about Rs 1,000 crore for launching 36 satellites with its LVM3 rocket on Sunday at 12.07 a.m.

OneWeb will also use ISRO's another LVM3 rocket in January to launch 36 satellites.

OneWeb plans to have a constellation of 648 satellites in LEO to offer its broadband services across the world.

"Nearly 10 per cent of OneWeb's satellites will be launched by ISRO," Shravin Mittal, Managing Director, Bharti Global said.

Queried about the prospects of sourcing its Gen2 satellites from ISRO, Sunil Bharti Mittal said discussions are on. OneWeb company will look at India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) to orbit some of its satellites as replacements in space.

Queried about any change in constellation configuration following the decision to merge OneWeb with Eutelsat Communications, Massimiliano Ladovaz, Chief Technology Officer, said there is no change in respect of Gen1 satellite constellation.

In the case of Gen2 satellites is being studied on optimum use of Eutelsat Communications' geostationary satellites with that of OneWeb's satellites in LEO.

Ladovaz also said the request for quote (RFQ) for manufacturing of Gen2 satellites will be issued by the end of this year.

Officials of OneWeb and ISRO on Saturday had a meeting where the possibility of ISRO participating was also discussed.

According to Sunil Bharti Mittal, by middle of next year OneWeb will start offering its broadband service mainly focussed on the business-to-business segment.

When asked about the competition, he said the market is big enough to have three or four satellite constellations.

Would not three or four constellations with several hundreds of satellites orbiting in the space increase the space debris, Ladovaz said OneWeb satellites are designed in such a manner that it would not become a debris.




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