Satellite operator SES has confirmed the successful launch of four new Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites to add to its O3b constellation, bringing the number of O3b satellites in orbit to 20 and completing the company’s first-generation network.
O3b was founded in 2007, and launched the first satellites in its MEO network in 2013. The company was acquired outright by geostationary satellite operator SES in 2016, which had already been an investor in the company since 2009.
The O3b MEO system, located approximately 8,000 km away from the Earth’s surface, was originally envisioned as a way of providing internet services to rural and unconnected regions of the planet (the ‘Other 3 billion’ from which O3b gets its name), but has also been providing connectivity to specific sectors of the maritime sector for some time, particularly in the offshore and cruise markets.
“This launch marks a very important part in the O3b journey. We started O3b with this bold vision of changing lives by connecting people. We wanted to create a meaningful impact, and we have,” said John-Paul Hemingway, Chief Executive Officer of SES Networks.
“We have connected underserved communities with high-performance internet. We have restored connectivity across disaster zones. We have changed the notion that you can’t be as connected at sea as on land. And we have made the Cloud available to businesses where it was never possible before.”
“As this launch completes our first-gen O3b system of 20 satellites, it also marks the transition into our next-generation MEO system, O3b mPOWER, the only fully-funded NGSO broadband system in development today. When O3b mPOWER launches in 2021, SES will bring massive scale to our proven O3b model – driving digital transformation and Cloud adoption virtually everywhere on the planet.”