Thursday 8 December at SpaceX sent a large group of corporate satellites into orbit OneWeb. A total of 40 satellites have been launched to complete the latter’s mega-constellation, which is SpaceX’s direct competitor in the high-speed internet sector.
22:27 GMT, a rocket SpaceX’s Falcon 9 took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In the video of the launch, we could see the separation of the first stage of the rocket, but especially its landing at a site for the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Shortly after the first stage landed, Youmei Zhou, a propulsion engineer at SpaceX and a commentator at the event, said in the video that the spacecraft was able to reach its intended trajectory.
A recycled first floor
This landing of the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket represents 145th successful recovery for SpaceX. It was too 4th launch of this first floor in particular. According to information, this first phase was used to launch a mission Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station in December 2021, the satellite Eutelsat Hotbird 13F October last year, and then a batch of internet satellites star link.
As for the upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, he deployed the satellites in three roughly equal batches. The deployment began 58 minutes after takeoff and ended 30 minutes later.
The launch of the OneWeb satellites
OneWeb plans to build one mega-constellation consisting of 648 high-speed Internet satellites in low circuit. Before this final flight, more than 460 elements of the constellation had already been placed in orbit. Most of them were launched by Russian rockets Soyuz operated by the French company Arianespace.
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the agreement between the Russians and Arianespace was cancelled. OneWeb then decided to sign agreements with SpaceX and New Space India Limited (NSIL) to fill the void left by the Russian rockets.
NSIL’s first launch of OneWeb was on 21 October. Indian rocket GSLV Mark III then placed 36 satellites into orbit. For SpaceX, the December 8 launch represents a first for OneWeb. Today, the latter has more than 500 satellites in orbit.