Four new O3b satellites have arrived safely at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, in preparation for launch by a Soyuz vehicle in March 2018.
The four O3b medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites will be placed in orbit nearly 8,000 kilometres from Earth, four times closer to the planet than geostationary satellites. Built by Thales Alenia Space, the Ka-band satellites will offer low latency, fibre-like connectivity to people and businesses in the growing mobility, fixed data and government markets.
The launch of the new satellites will augment SES’s fleet of 12 O3b satellites, which were also built by Thales Alenia Space. The four new spacecraft have improved connectivity capabilities and increased performance, and will serve to seamlessly scale the existing O3b constellation. Together, they will enable SES Networks to offer more capacity, enhanced coverage, increased efficiencies and greater reliability while delivering carrier-grade services including MEF Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certified services, to telcos, mobile network operators (MNOs), enterprises, internet service providers (ISPs) and government customers.
Steve Collar, Chief Executive Officer at SES Networks, said, ““The uptake of our O3b fleet and capability has been breathtaking. From being the fastest growing operator in 2015 to our customers demanding for more O3b services today, we are now approaching peak capacity across a number of regions. As the only operational low-latency, broadband constellation in the world, we are developing our network aggressively to deliver cloud scale connectivity and solutions. Our managed end-to-end network services are comparable with terrestrial networks, empowering our customers to offer high-performance connectivity on a truly global scale.”
Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer at SES, added, “In addition to the O3b satellites’ throughput capabilities and low latency, a unique feature of the O3b constellation is that it is easily scalable and is designed to be expanded in response to demand. Demand for reliable fibre-like connectivity has never been higher, and we are excited that our satellites can play a key role in connecting people, communities, and improving their lives.”
SES will be launching another four satellites in the constellation with Arianespace in 2019, bringing the total number of O3b satellites to 20. The first 12 O3b satellites were launched by three Soyuz launch vehicles in 2013 and 2014.