Earlier today, SpaceX launched another set of satellites to fill out OneWeb’s internet providing constellation of satellites. Today’s launch saw 40 OneWeb satellites launched by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket out of SLC-40 in Florida.
Falcon 9 took flight at 2:13 p.m. ET from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Supporting the mission was SpaceX’s B1062 booster. This was the booster’s thirteenth flight, with it having previously supported two GPS mission, seven Starlink missions, NileSat 301, and both of SpaceX’s private astronaut missions – Inspiration 4 and Axiom 1. SpaceX’s booster was recovered following the mission, with it performing a boostback burn and returning to land back at Cape Canaveral at Landing Zone 1.
The rocket carried 40 satellites into orbit, bringing the total number of OneWeb satellites in orbit to 582. This is the third time OneWeb has launched their satellites with SpaceX.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, OneWeb suspended their launches on Russian Soyuz rockets flying out of Baikonur Cosmodrome. With those launches on hold, the clear option for a partner capable of launching the remaining satellite necessary for the constellation was SpaceX. While OneWeb in some ways can be seen as a competitor to SpaceX’s own Starlink internet service, SpaceX was glad to provide a lift on their workhorse Falcon 9 rocket. Both aim to provide internet service to rural and underserved communities around the world.
SpaceX started with a focus on individual consumers, where people could order a user terminal and pay a month fee for internet access. OneWeb has a focus on larger scale applications, working with governments and distribution partners to connect communities and businesses. Starlink and OneWeb will compete more directly in maritime and aviation markets. SpaceX partnered with the Carnival Corporation to provide internet to several of their cruise lines, with OneWeb targeting the same market.