Satellite operator SES used the Paris Space Business Week event to announce it had selected SpaceX to launch its seven Medium Earth Orbit craft for its O3b division in 2021. The satellites are under construction at Boeing.
While not confirmed as yet, it is possible that the satellites could be launched in batches of three aboard the Falcon 9 rockets.
SES and SpaceX, in a joint statement, said: “The two companies have disrupted the industry in the past when SES became the first to launch a commercial GEO satellite with SpaceX, and later as the first ever payload on a SpaceX reusable rocket. Their next launch, in 2021, will be another one for the records as the revolutionary terabit-scale capabilities of SES’s O3b mPOWER communications system disrupt the industry again.”
“Momentum in the O3b mPOWER ecosystem is accelerating quickly as we continue to build the right partnerships to bring this massively innovative communications system to market,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “Working with SpaceX as our launch provider is fitting because in the last seven years we have already jointly made multiple revolutionary industry advancements that make access to space innovation more cost-efficient and unlock new opportunities in critical markets. We are delighted to have SpaceX as partners for our historic O3b mPOWER launch, and together, we will extend high-performance connectivity to all who have limited access to it today.”
“We are pleased that SES has once again selected Falcon 9 to launch their powerful, groundbreaking communications system,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President/COO at SpaceX. “SES has been an important partner for SpaceX – fully supporting our efforts to make rocket reusability a reality. We are proud to play a part in SES bringing revolutionary connectivity solutions to the market.”