SES says next-gen O3b mPOWER satellites are live and ready

SES says next-gen O3b mPOWER satellites are live and ready

Satellite operator SES announced on Wednesday that its second-generation medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite network, O3b mPOWER, is now live and ready to provide satellite broadband services around the world.

To date, SES has launched six out of 13 O3b mPOWER satellites, the most recent of which were launched into orbit in November 2023. That’s the minimum number of satellites SES needs to launch mPOWER services on a global basis.

The software-enabled mPOWER satellites – orbiting at an altitude of 8,000 km – are designed to scale from tens of Mbps to multiple Gbps of internet connectivity, which is ten times more than the original generation of O3b satellites currently in orbit.

With those six satellites and their accompanying ground infrastructure in place, SES will be introducing services in the coming months to O3b mPOWER customers to deliver connectivity services, said SES CEO Adel Al-Saleh.

“All the core infrastructure is deployed, tested and ready on a global basis,” he said in a statement. “Over the coming weeks we will work with our mobility, government, enterprise and cloud customers on O3b mPOWER onboarding plans.”

SES has already signed a number of mPOWER deals in advance of the service’s launch, particularly in developing markets banking on LEO and MEO high-throughput satellites to connect underserved and unserved areas, as well as supply mobile backhaul capacity.

India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm plans to use O3b mPOWER satellites for its satellite broadband service JioSpaceFiber. Over the past few years, SES has also signed mPOWER deals with operators in Ecuador, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, the Cook Islands, Senegal and other countries in Africa, among others.

The O3b mPOWER constellation was originally planned to start initial commercial services last year, but SES was forced to push that back after it was discovered that the six mPOWER satellites, manufactured by Boeing, suffer from power module switch-offs due to a design glitch, which will shorten their operational life.

SES said in October it has put mitigations in place to compensate for the power glitch, to include adding two more satellites to the constellation, which will now comprise 13 MEO satellites instead of 11. The remaining seven satellites will be upgraded to fix the problem.

The next two O3b mPOWER satellite launches are scheduled for late 2024.


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