A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted into space on Thursday carrying 36 new satellites from British operator OneWeb, which aims to provide broadband internet everywhere in the world.
The rocket, operated by Europe’s Arianespace, took off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East at 0940 GMT, broadcast live by the country’s Roscosmos space agency.
“lift off!” Roscosmos tweeted after the launch – about the seventh OneWeb satellites this year.
— GLAVKOSMOS (@glavkosmosJSC) 14 October 2021
OneWeb, a London-headquartered company, is working to complete the construction of a group of low Earth orbit satellites that will provide advanced broadband and other services to countries around the world.
The company is competing with tech billionaire Elon Musk and Amazon’s fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos in a race to provide faster internet for remote regions of the world via satellites.
The UK company plans to have its global commercial Internet service up and running by next year, supported by some 650 satellites.
Arianespace, which has worked with Russia for nearly two decades, is under contract to conduct 16 Soyuz launches between December 2020 and the end of 2022.
Roscosmos said that with this latest mission, a total of 358 satellites are now orbiting the constellation.
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