- ISRO’s LVM-3 successfully launches satellites completing OneWeb constellation.
- India’s most powerful rocket has recently launched satellites for OneWeb’s first-generation internet constellation through Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM3) rocket from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) rocket carried 36 OneWeb broadband satellites toward low Earth orbit (LEO) which is a circular path about 280 miles (450 kilometers) above Earth.
- The satellites will raise their own orbits over the coming days and weeks, finally settling in at an altitude of about 745 miles (1,200 km).
- The launch was the 18th and final mission devoted to building out OneWeb’s first-generation broadband constellation in LEO, which before the launch consisted of 582 satellites.
- LVM3 is 143-foot-tall India’s brawniest rocket and is capable of delivering 17,600 pounds (8,000 kilograms) of payload to LEO while the 36 OneWeb satellites launched had a combined weight of 12,798 pounds (5,805 kg).
- India has been focusing on increasing its share in the global commercial space market which at present is only 2% of the commercial market.
What is OneWeb Constellation?
- OneWeb Constellation is a satellite-based network that aims to provide high-speed, low-latency internet connectivity worldwide.
- It is a collaborative project between the UK-based OneWeb Group and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in partnership with NewSpace India Ltd(NSIL).
- Important features:
- OneWeb Constellation consists of a network of 588 active satellites placed in 12 rings of 49 satellites each.
- The satellites are placed in low Earth orbit (LEO) and complete a full trip around the Earth in 109 minutes.
- The network provides high-speed, low-latency connectivity, enabling communities, enterprises, and governments worldwide to access the internet and connect with each other.
- The constellation will bring secured solutions not only to enterprises but also to towns, villages, municipalities, and schools, including the hardest-to-reach areas across India.
Major challenges of space-based broadband projects
- Cost: Launching satellites into orbit is expensive, and the cost of building, launching, and maintaining a constellation of satellites can be very high.
- Technical issues: Satellites must be able to communicate with ground stations and with each other, and there are many technical challenges associated with designing, building, and operating a constellation of satellites.
- Orbital debris: The increasing amount of debris in space can pose a risk to satellites and their operations.
- Regulatory issues: Space-based broadband projects must comply with national and international regulations governing the use of space, including regulations related to radio frequency interference, orbital debris, and spectrum allocation.
- Environmental concerns: The deployment of large constellations of satellites can have an impact on the space environment, potentially increasing the risk of collisions and contributing to the accumulation of orbital debris.
- Competition: There are several companies and organizations competing in the space-based broadband market, and the success of any particular project may depend on its ability to differentiate itself from its competitors and attract customers.
Advantages of OneWeb broadband
- Global Coverage: Space-based broadband systems can provide coverage to even the most remote and isolated areas of the world, which is often not possible with traditional ground-based broadband systems.
- Bridging the Digital Divide: Affordable and high-speed broadband connectivity to remote and underserved areas that currently lack reliable internet access will help to bridge the digital divide.
- High Speeds: Space-based broadband systems can provide high-speed internet connectivity to users, which is crucial for many applications, such as video conferencing, cloud-based services, and real-time data transfer.
- Disaster Response: The system can be quickly deployed to provide emergency communication services in the aftermath of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods thus helping to save lives and coordinate relief efforts more effectively.
- Low Latency: Space-based systems can significantly reduce latency compared to traditional satellite-based systems, which can make a significant difference in many applications, such as online gaming and virtual reality.
- IoT and Machine-to-Machine Communication: It can support the growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and enable machine-to-machine communication, which is becoming increasingly important in industries such as agriculture, transportation, and logistics.
- Redundancy: It can provide a redundant connection to users in areas where traditional broadband systems are unavailable, which is critical in emergency situations.
- Improved Connectivity for Air and Sea Travel: Low latency, high-speed of space-based broadband network can improve connectivity for air and sea travel, enabling passengers to stay connected during their journey and improving safety for ships and planes.
- Scalability: Space-based broadband systems can be scaled quickly and easily to meet increasing demand, which is essential in areas experiencing rapid population growth or where there is a sudden surge in demand due to an emergency or disaster.
Major space-based broadband projects
- Overall, the OneWeb broadband system has the potential to transform the way we connect and communicate, and make the benefits of the internet accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live or work.
- There is a need to nurture space-based broadband systems like OneWeb as it offers a promising solution to provide high-speed and reliable internet connectivity to users around the world, especially those in remote and isolated areas.