Thursday, December 18, 2014

Arianespace Launches four O3b Satellites, Completing Constellation

Arianespace successfully launched four Ka-band satellites for O3b Networks aboard a medium-lift Soyuz rocket from the Spaceport in French Guiana. This marked Arianespace’s tenth Soyuz launch from the Guiana Space Center and the third launch for O3b Networks, following the successful launch of the first eight satellites in the O3b constellation in June 2013 and July 2014.

Payload lift performance for this flight is approximately 3,180 kg., including about 2,800 kg. for the four Ka-band satellites, which were produced by Thales Alenia Space for O3b Networks.

The four Ka-band satellites are being directed into an equatorial orbit at an altitude of about 8,000 km, where they will join the first eight satellites. With this latest launch, the O3b constellation is now fully deployed and operational. O3b Networks started commercial service on September 1, 2014.

O3b's constellation provides optimal coverage between 45˚ north/south latitudes, with a minimum of 10 beams per region (7 regions) totalling 70 remote beams per the initial 8 satellite configuration. The satellites are able to deliver up to 1.2 Gbps per beam (600 Mbps x 2). Transponder bandwidth: 216 MHz; 2 x 216 MHz per beam. Because they are medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites, O3b can guarantee latencies of less than 150 milliseconds.  The company says its satellite network is fully capable of enabling telcos to extend their mobile networks into remote and underserved regions.