Advanced Television

SpaceX readies O3b launches

November 10, 2023

By Chris Forrester

SpaceX will launch two O3b mPOWER satellites for SES on November 12th, the rocket company has confirmed, although subject to weather conditions being favourable.

The two satellites are the 5th and 6th are in the expanded O3b/mPower constellation which will eventually comprise 13 craft. However, two are known to have potential problems. The first four mPOWER satellites all have power-related problems and their in-orbit lives will be shortened. Boeing, which is building the fleet, is compensating SES by supplying two additional satellites (Nos. 12 and 13) to help extend the in-orbit service for SES.

The fleet will come into service early in Q2 next year, perhaps in April although significantly later than initially planned. The delay will take about 5 per cent of 2024’s revenue expectations from SES.

The next two (mPOWER 7 and 8) will not now launch until Q2 2024 (and thus some 6-9 months later than expected) with mPOWER 9 and 11 launching in 2025 and 12 and 13 in 2026. All of these later satellites will have power modifications.

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