The mission on a Soyuz rocket will be conducted from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, in 2019. The 12 satellites of the existing O3b fleet were orbited by Arianespace in 2013 and 2014; the next four satellites (13th to 16th) will be launched by Arianespace next year. The O3b fleet delivers low-latency data services provided by SES Networks, a business unit of SES.
The twenty O3b satellites that SES Networks positions and operates in MEO, nearly 8,000 kilometres above the Earth, form the first strong building block of a unique high-power, high-throughput fleet. They are built by Thales Alenia Space, have a mass of approximately 700 kilogram at lift-off and provide each a capacity of more than 10 Gigabits per second.
In addition, SES has announced, on 11 September 2017, the launch of a new super-powered terabit constellation and connectivity network system, O3b mPOWER, which will add another seven next generation Boeing satellites and comprehensive global ground system starting in 2021 and bringing the total number of O3b satellites by then to 27. SES’s MEO system will be fully integrated into its large fleet in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO).
SES Networks, a provider of global managed data services, is a new SES business unit comprised of the former O3b Networks and SES data business. With the only network solutions powered by the O3b fleet of MEO satellites, together with the reach of more than 50 GEO satellites, SES Networks enables high-performance communications for fixed data, mobility and government customers virtually anywhere.
Steve Collar, the CEO of SES Networks, commented that the company is pleased that proven partners can be relied upon to develop the O3b fleet. As the only MEO constellation in the world, the O3b fleet is a cornerstone of the firm's strategy to serve fast-growing data markets with high-performance, fiber-equivalent connectivity virtually anywhere. The company's commitment to Arianespace also underscores that SES continues to play a major role for the European space industry.
Stéphane Israël, Arianespace's Chief Executive Officer, stated that he would like to thank SES for having selected Arianespace a fifth time for the deployment of that firm's broadband telecommunications network. Entrusting Arianespace with the launch of four additional O3b satellites is a true recognition of the reliability and the excellence of the Arianespace launch service solutions. With this contract, a step further has been taken in advancing world broadband connectivity with satellites and reducing the digital divide. More than ever, Arianespace is living up to its motto of using space for a better life on Earth.