SES Selects Arianespace for Fifth MEO Launch, Opens New Era With O3b mPOWER

SES has selected Arianespace for its fifth launch of four O3b satellites joining its O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) fleet, as well as  announced the beginning of a new era in global cloud-scale connectivity and high power data services with the launch of O3b mPOWER, a powerful networks system that will deliver efficient high-performance network communications to users all around the world.

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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 20 O3b satellites that SES Networks positions and operates in MEO, nearly 8,000 kilometers 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 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).

“We are pleased that we can rely on proven partners to develop our O3b fleet,” says Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks. “As the only MEO constellation in the world, the O3b fleet is a cornerstone of our strategy to serve fast-growing data markets with high-performance, fibre-equivalent connectivity virtually anywhere. Our commitment to Arianespace also underscores that SES continues to play a major role for the European space industry.”

“I would like to thank SES for having chosen Arianespace a fifth time for the deployment of its broadband telecommunications network,” says Stéphane Israël, Arianespace’s Chief Executive Officer. “Entrusting Arianespace with the launch of four additional O3b satellites is a true recognition of the reliability and the excellence of our launch service solutions. With this contract, we are proud to contribute to the extension of the O3b constellation, thus taking a step further 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.”

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.

Weighing more than six metric tons at launch, SES-17 will be among the 10 largest telecom satellites launched by Arianespace since the company’s founding. SES-17 is the third all-electric satellite for which SES has chosen an Arianespace launch. The satellite built by Thales Alenia Space is fitted with an electric propulsion system for orbital positioning and station-keeping; its payload comprises 200 Ka-band spotbeams; the orbital position of the spacecraft has not yet been disclosed.

“SES and Arianespace have developed an exceptional partnership over the past 30 years”, says Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer of SES. “With this launch, we build on that relationship and underline our commitment to the European space industry. Together with today’s agreement with Arianespace to launch another four spacecraft of our O3b constellation on Soyuz in 2019, we are satisfied to conclude two important contracts with Arianespace giving us the necessary and reliable access to space that we need to further develop and drive our business.”

“This latest contract reflects the excellent relations built between Arianespace and SES over the past three decades. Our order book speaks for itself, with now 10 satellites to be launched for SES by 2021,” says Israël. “We are honored to have been selected by SES for the launch of the new-generation SES-17 – an impressively sized, all-electric satellite – which shows Arianespace’s ability to adapt to customers’ evolving requirements. SES’ continued trust in Arianespace is a clear demonstration that our Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher is keeping pace with these changing technologies, prior to the advent of our new-generation Ariane 6 launch vehicle – for which discussions are underway to serve future SES missions.”

 

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