SES wins major FCC expansion approval
June 8, 2018
By Chris Forrester
Satellite operator SES has received FCC permission to expand its wholly-owned subsidiary O3b satellite constellation.
The FCC permit allows SES to significantly “supercharge” its existing constellation of 16 MEO satellites and their operations over the USA and beyond.
The authorisation opens significant additional frequencies to SES for use in its non-geostationary (NGSO) constellation and enables it to deploy a ‘next generation’ O3b mPOWER satellites into inclined and equatorial orbits, delivering full global pole-to-pole coverage.
SES says a total of 26 new O3b satellites are authorised, in addition to the 16 satellites already operational and in orbit. The grant allows SES to add 4 satellites to its existing O3b constellation, which are scheduled for launch next year, and provides the framework for SES to triple its next-generation O3b mPOWER fleet by giving US market access for another 22 super-powered satellites, of which 7 are currently under construction and scheduled for launch starting in 2021.
The O3b mPOWER constellation will bring massive scale and flexibility to the proven O3b MEO model. The seven O3b mPOWER MEO satellites that SES has ordered already will have more than 30,000 dynamic, electronically-generated, fully-shapeable and steerable beams that can be shifted and switched in real time following customers’ needs. Each satellite boasts more than 10 times the capability of the current O3b satellites with unmatched flexibility.
“This important FCC grant provides SES with the means to grow and scale our network, connecting the planet and delivering world class solutions to our customers globally,” said Steve Collar, President and CEO of SES. “With the first 7 O3b mPOWER satellites, we will deliver a paradigm shift in performance, bandwidth and service. The FCC grant provides the platform to exponentially scale the network in response to surging demand for global data connectivity.”