Despite Coronavirus crisis Russians launch Soyuz carrying 34 OneWeb satellites

by | Mar 23, 2020 | Launches, Russia, Satellites, Seradata News, Soyuz

While COVID-19 has hobbled the launch plans of many satellite operators at other sites, Russia and China are continuing with their programmes. Thus, while Arianespace’s Soyuz launches from Sinnamary, near Kourou in French Guiana, have been suspended, its Russian counterparts continued with theirs. On 21 March, at 1706 GMT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan, a Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat M successfully launched 34 OneWeb spacecraft for the low Earth orbit communications satellite constellation.

The satellites were injected into a 450 km orbit and used on-board propulsion to raise themselves to the 1,200 km apogee operational position. So far 74 spacecraft of the 588 satellites planned for this constellation have been launched. OneWeb hopes to start regional operations once 300 satellites have been launched, hopefully by the end of this year.

Space News (Caleb Henry) reports that OneWeb may not be able to complete its constellation without new financing – difficult to achieve in the current crisis. This could have ramifications for the Ariane 6 whose first (maiden) flight was to carry OneWeb satellites, and for the EU/ESA Galileo navigation satellite system, which will fly its satellites on Ariane 6 but only after it has proved itself with a successful flight.

Soyuz launches 34 OneWeb satellites on 21 March 2020. Courtesy: Roscosmos (CC Yuzhny)


About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

OneWeb crosses constellation halfway mark with another launch

LEO constellation contender OneWeb passed the satellite deployment, halfway mark with another 36-unit launch from Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia. The mission Read more

Soyuz 2-1b Fregat M launches Arktika-M 1 arctic meteorological research sat

Russia successfully launched a Soyuz 2-1b Fregat M vehicle carrying the Arktika-M 1 satellite into a highly inclined elongated Molniya Read more

Russia launches third next-generation Glonass navigation satellite

A mission from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Northern Russia, saw Soyuz 2-1B rocket with Fregat-M upper-stage carry a satellite to Medium Read more

Russia launches Glonass navsat using Soyuz 2-1B/Fregat M

Russia successfully launched a navigation satellite codenamed Cosmos 2545 as part of its Glonass navigation system  at 1828 GMT on Read more

Arianespace completes first fully stocked launch carrying 34 satellites for OneWeb

Launching at 2142 GMT, 6 February 2020, a Soyuz 2-1B rocket has carried 34 OneWeb satellites to LEO. The launch, Read more

Soyuz launches 33 satellites including Meteor M2-2

A Soyuz 2-1B with Fregat M upper stage successfully launched at 0541 GMT on 5 July 2019 from Vostochny Cosmodrome Read more

Egyptsat A has a lucky escape as Fregat M recovers altitude lost by faulty Soyuz third stage…but OneWeb launch gets away OK

Egyptsat A (Misrsat A) was eventually successfully launched by a Soyuz 2-1b Fregat M rocket at 1647 GMT on 21 Read more

Soyuz 2-1B/Fregat M puts Glonass M-57 (Cosmos 2529) navsat into correct Medium Earth Orbit

At 2017 GMT on 3 November 2018, a Soyuz 2-1B/Fregat M successfully put the Russian GLONASS M-57 navigation satellite into orbit after Read more