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Satnews Daily
August 25th, 2016

Facebook Satellite Launch Set For September Third

In an article posted by Advanced Television's Special Correspondent and SatMagazine Senior Contributor, Chris Forrester, Israel-based Spacecom has stated that the firm's upcoming AMOS-6 satellite is scheduled for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on September 3rd—and why should this launch be of any importance to Facebook?

Artistic rendition of the AMOS-6 satellite.

Facebook is a major client for this upcoming AMOS-6 satellite and has capacity booked through Eutelsat of Paris, which is worth (to Eutelsat) some $95 million (83.9 million euros) in total contract value. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced the scheme in October 2015, saying this move was part of Facebook’s plan to “connect the world.” The Eutelsat agreement covers usage for five years, with options to extend by a further two years, and will use Amos-6’s Ka-band spot beams, which will cover 36 regions and offer a total throughput of 18 Gb/s.

Zuckerberg added that over the last year, Facebook has been exploring ways to use aircraft and satellites to beam Internet access down into communities from the sky. To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, new technologies must be invented. As part of Facebook's collaboration with Eutelsat, AMOS-6 is going to provide Internet coverage to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The AMOS-6 satellite is under construction now and will launch in 2016 into a geostationary orbit that will cover large parts of West, East and Southern Africa. Facebook will work with local partners across these regions to help communities begin accessing Internet services provided through satellite.”

While the Eutelsat/AMOS deal is an important step for the industry, it is not the only one. Facebook has also booked (in April this year) capacity on three SES satellites to provide WiFi capacity and connectivity to sub-Saharan Africa. To read the entire Chris Forrester report, please access this direct link...