O3b Satellites (SES Networks)
O3b was head quartered in St. Helier, Jersey with an operational head office in The Hague, Netherlands. In 2016 O3b Networks became a wholly owned subsidiary of satellite operator SES S.A. O3b Networks was renamed as SES Networks, a division of SES. The satellites themselves, now part of the SES fleet, continue to use the O3b name.
Till 2018 O3b operated a constellation of 16 MEO Ka-band High Throughput Satellites (HTS), each capable of 1.6 Gigabits per second (Gbps) with a latency of less than 150 milliseconds. The constellation entered commercial operations in September 2014, and Thales Alenia Space is currently building a follow-on series of eight more spacecraft.
The network combines the relatively large reach of satellite with high speed and medium latency (the amount of time taken for information to be sent from one location to another) to deliver satellite Internet services and mobile backhaul services to emerging markets.
After initially planning to launch in 2010, the first four satellites were launched on June 25th, 2013 on a Soyuz launch vehicle of launch operator Arianespace. A further four satellites were launched in July 2014, and another four in December 2014, all by an Arianespace Soyuz rocket. Four more were launched in March 2018 and another four were successfully launched in April 2019, bringing the constellation to 20 satellites, including the three current satellites which will be used as in-orbit backup.
In September 2017, SES announced the next generation of O3b satellites (mPower-series) and placed an order for an initial seven from satellite manufacturer Boeing Defense & Space, expected to launch in 2021, the O3b mPower constellation of MEO satellites for broadband Internet services will “be able to deliver anywhere from hundreds of megabits to 10 gigabits to any ship at sea” through 30,000 spot beams. Software-defined routing will direct traffic between the mPower MEO satellites and SES’ geostationary fleet.