As next-generation satellite technology develops into multi-orbit constellations, including NGSO (Non-Geostationary Orbit) constellations and Very High Throughput Satellites (VHTS), satellite capacity is increasing more quickly than ever. New industries and regions that are expanding to satellite communication are resulting in an increase in customer expectations. OneWeb is one of the majority of satellite firms that are developing their satellites.
According to an announcement made on June 30 by the two firms, OneWeb will begin launching some of its satellites of next-generation on a next-generation launch vehicle from Relativity Space as early as 2025.
OneWeb secured a contract for launch services with Relativity Space, which will allow OneWeb to launch many OneWeb Gen 2 satellites using the company’s in-progress Terran R reusable launch vehicle. The businesses opted not to reveal information about the arrangement, such as its value as well as the number of deployments covered.
OneWeb has not provided many specifics regarding the Gen 2 constellation, which is anticipated to have many more satellites than the 648 spacecraft the business is currently deploying. These upcoming satellites could possibly carry payloads for navigation, and they’ll probably offer more communications services.
The dearth of information extends to the satellites size. The businesses chose not to say how many satellites would accommodate on the Terran R rocket, which is expected to have a payload capacity comparable to SpaceX’s Falcon 9.
The Terran R has five customers altogether, but OneWeb is the first one Relativity has announced. The other four unknown clients are “leading satellite providers we are tremendously enthusiastic regarding having on our manifest,” Relativity’s CEO Tim Ellis stated in a written reply to inquiries from Spacenews.
According to Ellis, Relativity has reservations for over 20 Terran R deployments from all clients, with a backlog valued at over $1.2 billion. The OneWeb agreement is a sizable anchor client, and the total number of agreements announced today also includes other big customer agreements,” he explained. Every single multi-launch agreement was signed by the other four clients.
In June 2021, Relativity unveiled a $650 million fundraising round and the Terran R at the same time. The company’s 3D printing innovations, which have been under development since the company’s founding, will be used to build Terran R. Its payload fairing, as well as both stages, are all recyclable.
Its smaller Terran 1 rocket is about to make its debut launch, according to the corporation. In preparation for a launch later this summer, the vehicle is conducting testing at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Launch Complex 16. There won’t be a payload on that trip, which the business is calling “Good Luck, Have Fun.”
OneWeb is getting ready to restart the first-generation constellation launches that were put on hold when the business stopped using Soyuz rockets in response to Russia’s assault on Ukraine in February. The GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) Mark 3 and the Falcon 9 from SpaceX are expected to be used for launches once more in the fourth quarter, according to a OneWeb executive on June 23.