Arianespace says that it will launch the next batch of SES-backed O3b satellites on March 29th. The company will use the Russian Soyuz rocket for the task, and the mission is to carry four O3b satellites into orbit. The new date is a few days later than originally expected.
Arianespace’s CEO Stephane Israel said “Soyuz will be back at the Guiana space center on March 29th for a very deep partner and customer for us — it is SES O3b. We will deliver the fifth launch of the O3b SES [fleet] on March 29th”, during a press conference in Kourou.
A total of 16 O3b satellites have been launched aboard four Soyuz-ST rockets over the past five years. Since October 2011, Soyuz-ST rockets were launched 21 times from Kourou.
The O3b fleet of craft are designed to create a new European medium-orbit satellite communications system to provide communication and high-speed Internet access to about 3 billion residents of remote and developing regions, where it is impossible to lay fibre-optic cable. O3b has also achieved success in providing connectivity to cruise ships with high-demand from passengers.