Thursday, December 8, 2011

O3b Books Another Satellite Launch Deal with Arianspace

O3b Networks, which is planning a new global, high-speed, satellite-based Internet network for telecommunications operators and ISPs, has exercised the first of the two options in its contract with Arianespace for an additional launch in 2014 for the O3b Networks' satellite constellation. By exercising this option, O3b has allocated a total of three launches of 12 satellites to Arianespace.

O3b stands for the "Other 3 billion", a reference to nearly half of the world's population that is not adequately served with broadband internet access. Its investors include SES, Google Inc., Liberty Global Inc., and HSBC.

The first eight O3b satellites are planned to be lofted into orbit during 2013 by two Soyuz launch vehicles operating from the Guiana Space Center. Each satellite will weigh about 700kg at launch, has a design life of 10 years, and provides greater than 10 Gbps of capacity. The satellites will be positioned in medium Earth orbit at an altitude of just over 8000km. The satellites will be built by Thales Alenia Space.

Arianespace will now launch a third tranche of four satellites for O3b from the CSG in 2014 on a Soyuz. In addition, Arianespace is beginning construction of a third dispenser and is accelerating the launch schedule allowing O3b to meet the growing capacity needs of its customers.

  • In November 2011. O3b announced that it had raised US $137 million for the construction of four additional satellites that will boost both capacity and redundancy over the emerging markets. The additional spacecraft, set to launch in 2014, will nearly double the capacity of O3b Networks’ initial fleet of eight Medium Earth Orbit satellites, which are scheduled to be launched in early 2013.

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