This Thursday (8), SpaceX will launch a series of equipment from the British company OneWeb into orbit. It is the main competitor to Starlink, which belongs to the company Elon Musk, in the field of broadband internet via satellite.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 40 OneWeb satellites is scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida at 19:27 (Brasília time), with a live broadcast on SpaceX’s YouTube channel beginning 15 minutes earlier.
If all goes as planned, the rocket’s first stage will return to a landing at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which is adjacent to KSC, just under eight minutes after liftoff.
According to a statement from SpaceX, this will be the fourth launch of this particular booster, which has already been used: during a cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS), in December 2021; by sending the Hotbird 13F satellite into geostationary orbit in October this year and on a Starlink mission more recently.
In turn, the Falcon 9 upper stage will travel for about an hour until it launches the OneWeb satellites into orbit. According to the website space.comOneWeb is building a broadband constellation that will have 648 satellites, enough to take second place in the ranking led by Starlink – which already has well over three thousand units in operation.
So far, about 460 OneWeb spacecraft have reached orbit, the vast majority of them atop Russian Soyuz rockets, operated by the French company Arianespace.
However, that contract between Russia and France fell apart after the country led by Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February, leaving a launch vacuum for OneWeb.
The company has thus entered into agreements with SpaceX and New Space India Limited (NSIL). While the Indian company has already delivered it, at the end of October it will be SpaceX’s first mission with OneWeb satellites.
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