SES has selected Arianespace for its fifth launch of four O3b satellites joining its O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) fleet. The mission on a Soyuz rocket will be conducted from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, in 2019. The 12 satellites of the existing O3b fleet were orbited by Arianespace in 2013 and 2014; the next four satellites (13th to 16th) will be launched by Arianespace next year. The O3b fleet delivers low-latency data services provided by SES Networks, a business unit of SES.
The 20 O3b satellites that SES Networks positions and operates in MEO, nearly 8,000 kilometres above the Earth, form the first strong building block of a unique high-power, high-throughput fleet. They are built by Thales Alenia Space, have a mass of approximately 700 kilogram at lift-off and provide each a capacity of more than 10 Gigabits per second.
In addition, SES has announced, on 11 September 2017, the launch of a new super-powered terabit constellation and connectivity network system, O3b mPOWER, which will add another seven next generation Boeing satellites and comprehensive global ground system starting in 2021 and bringing the total number of O3b satellites by then to 27. SES’s MEO system will be fully integrated into its large fleet in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO).
“We are pleased that we can rely on proven partners to develop our O3b fleet,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks. “As the only MEO constellation in the world, the O3b fleet is a cornerstone of our strategy to serve fast-growing data markets with high-performance, fibre-equivalent connectivity virtually anywhere. Our commitment to Arianespace also underscores that SES continues to play a major role for the European space industry.”
Stéphane Israël, Arianespace’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “I would like to thank SES for having chosen Arianespace a fifth time for the deployment of its broadband telecommunications network. Entrusting Arianespace with the launch of four additional O3b satellites is a true recognition of the reliability and the excellence of our launch service solutions. With this contract, we are proud to contribute to the extension of the O3b constellation, thus taking a step further in advancing world broadband connectivity with satellites and reducing the digital divide. More than ever, Arianespace is living up to its motto of using space for a better life on Earth.”
SES Networks, a provider of global managed data services, is a new SES business unit comprised of the former O3b Networks and SES data business. With the only network solutions powered by the O3b fleet of MEO satellites, together with the reach of more than 50 GEO satellites, SES Networks enables high-performance communications for fixed data, mobility and government customers virtually anywhere.