WASHINGTON – European launch provider Arianespace completed the first generation of OES 3rd generation SES April 4 launch of four Soyuz satellites
The rocket rose at 1:04 pm. East of the European Space Center of Guiana near Kourou, French Guiana.
700-kilogram satellites, designed for broadband services, are separated from the Russian missile twice at a time, the first two hours and one minute after lifting, and the second one installed in 22 minutes.
Today SES has 20 satellites O3b in the Earth's orbit. Franco-Italian manufacturer Thales Alenia Space has built satellites Ka-band, each of which carries 20 gigabits per second of bandwidth.
SES, based in Luxembourg, operates O3b satellites 8,000 kilometers above Earth ̵
SES Speaker Susanne Ong said that four new satellites increase the bandwidth of constellation O3b by 26 percent. The coverage area of the O3b remains largely the same, she said, expanding 50 degrees north and south of the equator.
Arianespace has launched a full constellation of O3b since 2013, using Soyuz missiles that carry four satellites at a time.
Since then, several companies have begun to place broadband satellites in the Earth's low Earth even closer to Earth. SpaceX and Telesat have a prototype of spacecraft, and OneWeb has six operational satellites, all in a low Earth orbit.
John Paul Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks, spoke on the decision of SES to focus on the Earth's orbit, arguing that low ground orbit systems would face latency problems similar to those of GEO satellites, because their proximity to the Earth means less coverage of the area requiring traffic routing through multiple stops for long distance traffic.
"If you want to get from Africa to London, you have to go through a few jumps to get there, so ultimately the delay will be the same [as a higher orbit]," he said. "We really believe that this Earth's orbit is a sweet spot."
Not all operators agree with this assessment. LeoSat, which is preparing a constellation of 108 satellites with low orbit, equipped with inter-satellite communications, says it will be faster than fiber for some interurban connections.
Hemingway said that SES can send delayed traffic, for example, video conferencing, via O3b satellites, and route other traffic like web browsing through its 50-plus geostationary satellites.
Hemingway said that the flow of investment in the constellation of small satellites and other satellite systems is evidence that satellite communications are becoming more widespread than the last resort decision.
"It should be used with fiber, with a microwave oven, and the satellite will be the main one," he said. "All this is for me a proof of what is happening."
SES has seven second-generation O3b satellites built from Boeing designed to provide a total of 10 terabits per second power. SES has not chosen a launch provider, but plans to have a second generation, known as O3b mPower, in orbit in 2021.
For Arianespace, the launch on April 4 was his fourth mission to the Union in less than six months – the cadence of practice for his OneWeb launch campaign, which requires the union to be launched every 21 days for 20 missions, which begin later this year. Most of these launches are planned from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.