Bharti-backed OneWeb, the low Earth orbit satellite communications company, on Monday said it has signed a non-binding Letter of Intent (LoI) with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL)--the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)--to use Indian-built Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the heavier Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-MkIII) as potential platforms to launch OneWeb’s satellites in India from 2022.
OneWeb is building its initial constellation of 648 LEO satellites and has already put 322 satellites into orbit. Services will begin this year to the Arctic region including Alaska, Canada, and the UK.
By late 2022, OneWeb will offer its high-speed, low latency connectivity services in India and the rest of the world. Service testing on the satellites already in orbit is underway. The results are positive, including seamless satellite and beam handovers, high speeds and low latency.
OneWeb and NSIL hope to convert the LoI into a binding agreement after obtaining all necessary approvals from their respective Boards.
OneWeb will undertake its 11th launch on 14 October with a further 36 satellites on board. In under a year, the company has passed the halfway stage of its first generation constellation with 322 satellites now in space.
“ISRO has built formidable launch capabilities and India is part of the select group of countries to have history of successful launches. OneWeb will be delighted to use ISRO’s proven platforms to fulfil its vision of taking broadband connectivity across the earth, oceans and sky. We believe this initiative will further the Prime Minister’s vision of making India a key hub in the global space ecosystem and also boost the India-UK strategic partnership. We look forward to a deeper engagement with NSIL/ISRO over the coming years,” OneWeb Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, said in a statement.
K. Sivan, Chairman of ISRO, added, “We are making tremendous progress and India is advancing its space capabilities and we look forward to working together.”