One Web’s LEO Internet Programme:
OneWeb is considering options to remove one of its broadband satellites from low Earth orbit after it failed following a software issue last year.
- So far, OneWeb has deployed 358 satellites at 1,200 kilometers through 11 launches.
- OneWeb has a partnership formed earlier this year with debris-removal startup Astroscale under ESA’s Sunrise program.
About OneWeb’s LEO internet programme:
- OneWeb is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications operator.
- Using LEO satellites OneWeb seeks to offer connectivity across the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, the Arctic Seas and Canada.
- The company expects the service to be switched on before the end of the year.
- It calls this programme the ‘Five to 50’ service of offering internet connectivity to all regions north of 50 degrees latitude.
- LEO satellites are positioned around 500km-2000km from earth, compared to stationary orbit satellites which are approximately 36,000km away.
- As LEO satellites orbit closer to the earth, they are able to provide stronger signals and faster speeds than traditional fixed-satellite systems.
- Because signals travel faster through space than through fibre-optic cables, they also have the potential to rival if not exceed existing ground-based networks.
- LEO satellites travel at a speed of 27,000 kph and complete a full circuit of the planet in 90-120 minutes.
- As a result, individual satellites can only make direct contact with a land transmitter for a short period of time thus requiring massive LEO satellite fleets and consequently, a significant capital investment.