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OneWeb slashes the size of future satellite constellations

WASHINGTON – OneWeb says a proposed reduction in the size of the next-generation satellite constellation was originally expected to include nearly 48,000 satellites.

In a Jan. 12 filing against the Federal Communications Commission, OneWeb sought permission to amend an application filed in May requesting 47,844 satellites for the “Phase Two” constellation, the company is proposing a system with 6,372 satellites instead.

The revised constellation OneWeb said in a statement on Jan. 13 “demonstrating the commitment and vision” of the new owner, the British government and Indian telecom company Bharti Global, for “cost-effective use of the satellite network. Responsible and groundbreaking to deliver Broadband around the world “

The second phase of the proposal originally filed with the FCC envisioned a system with 32 planes with 720 satellites each at an angle of 40 degrees, 32 planes with 720 satellites each at 55 degrees and 36 planes with. Each of the 49 satellites at an inclination of 87.9 degrees for a total of 47,844 satellites, all in an orbit of 1

,200 km in height. Affected by the proposed modifications.

The revised system retains the same number and orbital plane arrangement. But reduced the number of satellites in the 40-degree and 55-degree planes from 720 to 72 satellites in the 87.9-degree orbital plane were unchanged. The total size of the system reached 6,372 satellites.

“OneWeb expects this revised deployment plan for the Phase 2 constellation to help achieve superior end-user throughput and spectral performance, while reducing funding requirements and promoting ‘Responsible Space’ vision. “This revision is part of OneWeb’s commitment to supporting long-term use of space for all by maintaining an orbital environment.”

Despite reducing the size of the constellations by more than 85%, OneWeb asked the FCC to consider “minor” revisions under the rules to assess priorities for applications.The company said there were no other changes, such as frequency allocation. For the system so “This reduction in the proposed number of satellites will not increase the interference that may occur” for other systems.

It is not clear how serious OneWeb is with its original proposal for launching nearly 48,000 satellites.The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and suspended the first generation of the system. The deployment resumed in December after the company emerged from Chapter 11 under new ownership.

The size of a system larger than other proposed constellations has shocked some in the field of space sustainability due to the increased risk of orbital debris. Astronomers are also concerned that satellites pose a greater risk to observations than SpaceX’s Starlink system.

“It is clear that a large constellation of 50,000 satellites at high altitudes is the most visible threat to astronomy,” said Olivier Hainaut, astronomer at the European Southern Observatory, during the July conference on the impact. Of large satellites towards astronomy

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