An Indian rocket will launch 36 of OneWeb’s internet satellites to orbit on Saturday (Oct. 22), and you can watch the action live.
A GSLV (“Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle”) Mark III rocket is scheduled to launch the satellites Saturday at 2:37 p.m. EDT (1837 GMT; 12:07 a.m. India Standard Time on Oct. 23) from Satish Dhawan space Centre in Sriharikota, a barrier island just off India’s southeastern coast.
Watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of OneWeb, or directly via the company (opens in new tab). Coverage is expected to begin 25 minutes before liftoff.
London-based OneWeb has launched 426 satellites to date, all of them aboard Russian-built Soyuz rockets operated by the French company Arianespace. But that launch partnership splintered following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in late February of this year, leading OneWeb to seek out new rides to orbit.
The company soon found two. OneWeb announced in March that it had signed a launch deal with SpaceX, then revealed a similar contract with New space India Limited (NSIL), the commercial branch of the Indian space Research Organisation (ISRO), a month later. The terms of each deal were not disclosed.
Saturday’s launch will be the first under the NSIL contract. (OneWeb has yet to fly with SpaceX, a competitor in the satellite-internet field with its Starlink network.)
OneWeb is building out an initial constellation of 648 satellites in low Earth orbit, which will allow the company to provide internet service to customers around the globe.
OneWeb expects to hit that milestone sometime next year. The company already provides coverage to customers who live above 50 degrees north latitude.
The 143-foot-tall (43.5 meters) GSLV MkIII, also known as the LVM3, is India’s most powerful rocket. The three-stage launcher is capable of delivering 17,600 pounds (8,000 kilograms) of payload to low Earth orbit, according to its ISRO specifications page. (opens in new tab)
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).
Originally published at www.space.com