Luxembourg-based provider of satellite communications, SES has announced the beginning of a new era in global cloud-scale connectivity and high power data services with the launch of O3b mPOWER, a revolutionary and powerful networks system that will deliver efficient high-performance network communications to users all around the world.
The rapidly expandable and highly scalable O3b mPOWER system will leverage innovative space and ground technologies, and enable SES Networks to deliver fully-managed services in the dynamic mobility, fixed data and government markets. O3b mPOWER is capable of delivering multiple terabits of throughput globally and is scheduled for launch starting in 2021.
The system will involve investing billions of dollars in a new constellation of satellites and adding more satellites to an existing network.
According to the President and CEO of SES, Karim Michael Sabbagh, SES Networks’ investment in O3b mPower further showcases the confidence of SES overall in non-geostationary satellites.
Speaking at the press conference in Paris on Monday, Sabbagh, said “With the launch of O3b mPOWER, SES is opening a new era of connectivity, fundamentally transforming the role and capabilities of satellite. O3b mPOWER is a unique system with exponentially more power, performance and flexibility which sets the technology at the highest level, offering a visionary roadmap for next generation technology. We are leveraging the pole position we hold today by relying and building on the strengths of our existing O3b Medium Earth Orbit constellation. We are taking a long-term strategic commitment to further boost our capabilities, going beyond boundaries and redefining the frontiers of what satellite connectivity can accomplish. O3b mPOWER will be instrumental in empowering customers to massively scale up their businesses and capture new growth. This will enable us to further execute on our differentiated service offering and deliver profitable growth in line with SES’s financial framework.”
He stated that the seven satellite system will, in addition to bringing substantial new capacity, eliminate the need for replacements of two legacy geostationary satellites.
“This is only the start of the journey,” he said. “There will be further optimization of our geostationary fleet going further as we grow that particular system for data centric applications.”
Signalling intent to have at least some of the O3b mPower satellites launched before ViaSat-3, Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks, said the new constellation “will be the first multi-terabit system” in orbit.
“We will be able to deliver anywhere from hundreds of megabits to 10 gigabits to any ship at sea, which sounds like a tremendous amount, but as we develop over the course of the next five to 10 years, that is the need that is going to be there,” Collar said while responding to questions from journalists.“O3b mPower will have the ability to aim capacity at customers specifically, and avoid putting beams down in areas where none are present, he said. Software-defined routing will direct traffic between SES Network’s geostationary and medium-Earth orbit fleets.
The fleet, built by Boeing, is designed to an area of nearly 400 million square kilometres.
According to Collar, the company’s goal is for the system to eventually reach any point on Earth.
“We designed O3b mPower as a system, not as a bunch of satellites, and not as limited to the first seven satellites that we launch. So O3b mPower will be and is conceived as being a fully global system”, he said.
Collar also revealed that O3b mPower system took about two years to design and culminated in a Boeing contract because of Boeing’s willingness to cooperatively design the constellation. He added that Boeing gave what he would consider “unique access” visibility into their capabilities, which persuaded SES Networks to place the contract.
In his remark, Paul Rusnock, Boeing Satellite Systems International’s Chairman and CEO, said the O3b mPower constellation will use a new satellite platform based on Boeing’s 702 line of scalable buses. A bigger change than that, he said, is the implementation of a new “highly integrated electronics phased-array payload system.”
“It’s quite a departure from our standard product. It’s very light, it’s very powerful in how it can produce capability and get the resources where they need to go… When you open up the spacecraft, you are seeing bus components in there but very little payload. It’s all in this one piece”, he stated.