Boeing is building the first seven O3b mPower satellites under a contract awarded in 2017. These seven satellites were expected to be launched by the end of 2020 on a pair of SpaceX Falcon rockets
Fremont, CA: Boeing is set to manufacture four additional O3b mPower high-throughput communications satellites for fleet operator SES under an order which was announced on August 7, to expand the second-generation constellation to 11 satellites. Currently, Boeing is building the first seven O3b mPower satellites under a contract awarded in 2017. These seven satellites were expected to be launched by the end of 2020 on a pair of SpaceX Falcon rockets. However, the new order suggests that the first three will be launched later next year, six in 2022, and the last two in 2024. All 11 satellites will operate from medium Earth orbit to provide terabits of mobile broadband capacity for government and commercial customers.
“We have built our network around a multi-orbit, multi-frequency, high-throughput, flexible and open architecture increasingly of value to Government users,” said SES CEO Steve Collar. “We are looking forward to the first launch of O3b mPOWER and excited to extend our partnership with Boeing.” Boeing is using its latest 702x software-defined satellite platform to build the O3b mPower spacecraft. Each O3b mPower satellite will be capable of beaming 50 megabits to multiple gigabits per second to customers.
Current estimates suggest that SES is spending USD 566 million on the four additional satellites, a cost that will cover manufacturing, launch, and insurance. The four satellites will be more advanced than the original seven, increasing the total throughput of the entire O3b mPower constellation by 90 percent. Boeing and SES stated that they would collaborate on interoperability between O3b satellites in medium Earth orbit and U.S. government-owned military satellite communications systems.
“SES’s Networks division, which encompasses O3b and the rest of SES’s broadband-focused business, generates about a third of its revenues from government customers, making military use of O3b mPower a priority,” said Collar. Each of these satellites has a designed life of 12 years. The company is expected to continue scaling the medium Earth orbit constellation if demand for its services continues to grow. At present, SES has no plans for additional growth satellites beyond those in construction.
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