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Russia’s Soyuz missile, operated by European company Arianespace, on Friday launched 36 new satellites from British operator Oneweb, which is deploying a constellation to provide high-speed internet everywhere in the world.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a statement that the missile launched “successfully” at 1738 GMT from the Russian space base in Vostochny in the Far East.
Originally scheduled for Thursday evening, the Soyuz launch was postponed to the next day for “technical reasons”, after ArianeSpace clarified that it had been necessary to replace an “electrical installation component”.
It is the third launch of the OneWeb satellite this year and comes a month after its launch on April 26, again with 36 devices in orbit.
In total, with the mission on Friday, 218 aircraft will be in orbit of this constellation. Oneweb, owned by the British government with Indian Bharti, expects the arrival of operational global internet at the end of 2022 thanks to a network of 650 satellites.
Under a contract with European Arianespace, confirmed in September 2020, 16 Soyuz shots were scheduled between December 2020 and the end of 2022 to complete the network.
Several projects aiming to create towers that provide space and a global internet are in progress.
Meanwhile, American billionaire Elon Musk, head of the space company SpaceX, has already put in orbit for this purpose a thousand satellites to create the Starlink network.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has a similar project called Kuiper.
The creation of the Vostochny space base was punctuated by countless corruption scandals and delays.
Located in the Far East, near the border with China, this launch base will eventually replace the Baikonur base that Moscow has leased from Kazakhstan since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
© 2021 AFP
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