A Russian Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with 36 British OneWeb communications satellites has been successfully launched from the Vostochny spaceport.
The rocket blasted off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East at around 01:14 Moscow time on Monday (22:14 GMT on Sunday). The Fregat upper stage then separated from the rocket’s third stage and the booster was on its way to the designated orbit.
The Fregat booster has successfully put all 36 UK OneWeb satellites into the designated orbit, fully completing the mission launched using the Russian Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, confirmed to Sputnik.
“All satellites have separated,” Rogozin said.
“The separation of the head unit with 36 spacecraft and the first activation of the propulsion system of the Fregat upper stage took place at the designated time,” Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, confirmed via Twitter.
The current OneWeb mission is named after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space who made his pioneering flight 60 years ago. It is being aired live by Roscosmos.
The OneWeb communications company announced earlier this month that it was going to feature Gagarin on its 6th launch mission patch.
A space industry source told Sputnik earlier this month that the next launches of British OneWeb communications satellites using the Russian Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket were planned for May 27 and July 1, 2021. The first such launch this year was successfully performed in March.
According to Rogozin, the contract obligations for the launch of OneWeb communications satellites for the United Kingdom on board Russia’s Soyuz carrier rockets are going to be fulfilled by late 2022 or the first half of 2023.