Tuesday 6 March, Soyuz will lift off from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana carrying four new O3b satellites built by Thales Alenia Space for the medium-Earth-orbit (MEO) constellation operated by SES Networks. It will be Soyuz’s first launch from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG) this year.
For its 18th launch from the CSG, Soyuz is set to orbit four O3b satellites for SES, the world-leading operator and the first to deliver a differentiated and scalable GEO-MEO offering with more than 50 satellites in geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) and 12 in medium Earth orbit (MEO).
Operating at an altitude of approximately 8,000 kilometres, the O3b satellites will be four times closer to Earth than GEO satellites, offering connectivity with a latency comparable to fibre. SES provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and Internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators, governments and institutions, as well as to businesses around the world.
With a total launch mass of 2,800 kilograms (700 kilograms each), the four satellites will join the existing O3b MEO constellation to deliver high-speed connectivity to people and businesses in the growing mobility, fixed data and government markets. By scaling its MEO fleet, SES is adding 38% more capacity across the globe and growing the addressable market from 45 to 50 degrees North and South latitude. The satellites have an expected service lifetime of more than 10 years.