O3b’s extra quartet of satellites now operational
June 1, 2018
By Chris Forrester
Four additional Thales-built O3b satellites are now in service and meaning that the SES-backed constellation is now 16-craft strong.
The 4 new Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites are working at 8,000 kms above the ground, and SES says that collectively the new quartet adds 38 per cent extra capacity to the fleet. In MEO orbit the craft deliver low latency and “fibre-like” performance for data and broadband services anywhere on the plant.
SES coyly reminds clients that its O3b Ka-band fleet is the only non-geostationary system delivering broadband services today.
“Our customers have been waiting patiently for the new satellites to enter service. As the only company operating a successful non-geostationary broadband system, we are thrilled that these new satellites will be able to connect underserved communities and to transform lives through improved broadband access, as well as be part of the enhanced connectivity experience we deliver to ships, planes and government platforms,” said John-Paul Hemingway, Chief Executive Officer at SES Networks.
The four new O3b satellites were successfully launched by an Arianespace Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana on 9 March 2018, bringing the total number of MEO satellites in the O3b fleet to 16. Four more O3b satellites are scheduled for launch in H1 2019.
SES is also planning for its ‘next generation’ of O3b satellites, its O3b mPOWER vehicles, which are scheduled for launch in 2021 and will bring massive scale and flexibility to the proven O3b model. The seven super-powered MEO satellites will have more than 30,000 dynamic, electronically-generated fully-shapeable and steerable beams that can be shifted and switched in real time. It will provide coverage to an area of nearly 400 million square kilometres and will be scalable to multiple terabits of throughput globally.