OneWeb, backed by the Bharti Group, announced on Monday that it has secured a contract with ISRO’s commercial subsidiary, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), to launch its satellite from Indian soil starting in 2022.
According to the statement, the agreement was approached through a letter of intent (LOI) with NSIL to use Indian-built PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and the heavier GSLV-MkIII (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) as potential channels for launching OneWeb’s satellites.
OneWeb is a founding member of the Indian Space Association (ISpA), which promises to be the unified voice of India’s space and satellite companies and will collaborate with stakeholders across the country to facilitate India’s space ecosystem.
Mittal commented on the launch of the ISpA, saying, “I’m glad to share with all of you today that we’ve (OneWeb) entered into an arrangement to use the workhorse of Isro – the PSLV, and importantly the new rocket they’re bringing out, of a very large payload capacity, GSLV MKIII, to launch OneWeb satellites from the Indian soil.”
The ISpA is the premier industry association of space and satellite firms, with the goal of serving as a cooperative effort within the Indian space industry. ISpA is represented by major domestic and international firms with outstanding abilities in space and satellite technologies.
OneWeb, Bharti Airtel, Larson & Toubro (L&T), Nelco (Tata Group), Mapmyindia, Walchandnagar Industries, and Ananth Technology Limited are among the founding members of ISpA. Other prominent firms include Centum Electronics, Azista-BST Aerospace Private Limited, Hughes India, BEL, Maxar India, and Godrej.
OneWeb is currently developing a constellation of 648 LEO satellites and has already launched 322 satellites into orbit to provide high-speed, low-latency global internet connectivity. It aims to commence services this year to the Arctic region, which includes Alaska, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
The startup seeks to penetrate the Indian market by 2022. At the same time, companies such as SpaceX-owned Starlink and Amazon’s Project Juniper will try to infiltrate the Indian market. These firms will compete to provide the best satellite broadband services in India.
OneWeb will collaborate with ISRO to launch satellites into space to provide high-speed internet connectivity in India. OneWeb intends to connect with the country’s existing telecom carriers in order to facilitate them enhance their network coverage. According to company statements, when it comes to India, OneWeb focuses its efforts mostly on the B2B market rather than the B2C segment. However, its competitor, Starlink, expects to focus exclusively on the B2C market.