<br>He also said OneWeb’s merger with French satellite company Eutelsat Communications is likely to be completed around April-May of 2023. OneWeb will be a 100 per cent subsidiary of Eutelsat Communications.
Speaking to reporters here, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, OneWeb, said the company will be paying Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)/NewSpace India Ltd over Rs 1,000 crore for launching 72 satellites.
The first batch of 36 satellites will fly on ISRO’s rocket LVM3 at 12.07 a.m. on Sunday. OneWeb will also use ISRO’s another LVM3 rocket in January to launch 36 satellites.
OneWeb plans to have a constellation of 648 satellites in LEO to offer its broadband services across the world.
"Nearly 10 per cent of OneWeb’s satellites will be launched by ISRO," said Shravin Mittal, Managing Director, Bharti Global.
Queried about the prospects of sourcing its Gen2 satellites from ISRO, Sunil Mittal said the discussions are on. OneWeb will look at India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) to orbit some of its satellites as replacements in space.
Queried about any changes in constellation configuration following the decision to merge OneWeb with Eutelsat Communications, Massimiliano Ladovaz, Chief Technology Officer, OneWeb, said there is no change in respect of Gen1 satellite constellation.
Ladovaz also said the request for quote (RFQ) for manufacturing of Gen2 satellites will be issued by the end of this year.
Officials of OneWeb and ISRO on Saturday held a meeting where the possibility of ISRO participating was also discussed.
According to Sunil Mittal, by the middle of next year, OneWeb will start offering its broadband service mainly focused on the business-to-business segment.
When asked about the competition, he said the market is big enough to have three or four satellite constellations.
Asked if three or four constellations with several hundreds of satellites orbiting in the space will increase the space debris, Ladovaz said OneWeb satellites are designed in such a manner that it would not become a debris.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at email@example.com)