SES has announced that its four new O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites were successfully launched into space by Arianespace onboard a Soyuz rocket, from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana at 14:10 local time.
The new Ka-band satellites will join SES’s existing constellation of 12 MEO satellites, orbiting at approximately 8,000 km from Earth – four times closer to the planet than geostationary (GEO) satellites, delivering connectivity with a low latency, fibre-like performance. Built by Thales Alenia Space, the four new O3b satellites will enable SES to bring more capacity, enhanced coverage and increased performance to market. By augmenting its O3b fleet, SES is scaling its unique ability to connect people, businesses, and continents with high performance communications anywhere on Earth.
The O3b constellation is expanding to continue to drive digital equality and to support digital transformation across the globe. The additional capacity will enable SES Networks to cater to the growing consumption of bandwidth in the telecom, cloud, maritime, energy, and government markets.
Steve Collar, Chief Executive Officer at SES Networks, and CEO designate of SES, said, “We are very excited to have four more O3b satellites in orbit, and we look forward to them joining the constellation in May and serving our customers around the globe. The demand for high performance bandwidth and networks continues to grow and, as the only successful non-geostationary broadband system, we need these new satellites to fulfil demand across a wide range of verticals and applications. From connecting underserved communities and meaningfully transforming lives through improved broadband access, to delivering state of the art satellite-enabled network services to ships, planes and government platforms, our O3b fleet offers unique and differentiated performance and is driving our customers’ businesses forward.”
Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer at SES, added, “This was the fourth launch performed by Arianespace for our O3b fleet and we have yet another batch of O3b satellites planned for 2019 on their Soyuz rocket as well. This is the beauty of our MEO constellation: it can easily be scaled to respond to demand in an agile manner while beams can be allocated dynamically to where the demand is, and thus deliver low-latency connectivity where our customers need it. By augmenting our fleet, we will offer more throughput, more coverage, and more capabilities to our customers.”
Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, said, “With this second launch of the year, the 18 th Soyuz from the Guiana Space Center, Arianespace is very proud of the confidence placed by SES in our service solutions for both MEO satellites and GEO satellites. We are very pleased to support our long-standing partner SES in the expansion and evolution of its O3b fleet.”
In addition to these four new satellites, another four O3b satellites are scheduled to launch in H1 2019. The first 12 O3b satellites were launched by three Soyuz launch vehicles in 2013 and 2014.