[SatNews] The launch marks the resumption of Soyuz launches from the Guiana Space Center, four months after an orbital injection anomaly occurred on the previous Soyuz mission.
The third batch of four satellites in the O3b medium Earth orbit (MEO) constellation, operated by O3b Networks, was successfully launched by Arianespace on December 18 from French Guiana using a Soyuz rocket. The constellation of 8 became fully operational in September. The services offered by these eight satellites are highly successful—confirming the validity of the O3b design based on high-throughput and low latency.The constellation of 8 became fully operational in September. The services offered by these eight satellites are highly successful – confirming the validity of the O3b design based on high-throughput and low latency.
Positioned at an altitude of 8,062 kilometers (about 5,000 miles), four times closer to the E arth than geostationary satellites, these Ka-band satellites offer high speed, low-latency connectivity to Internet and telecommunications service providers in emerging markets. O3b Networks supplies trunking and mobile backhaul connectivity services to telecom operators and service providers at speeds comparable to those offered by fiber-optic networks.
With this launch Arianespace continues to deploy the O3b satellite constellation into an equatorial circular orbit to provide high-speed, low-cost, low-latency Internet access to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Australia and the Middle East. The coverage zone includes nearly 180 countries and the "other 3 billion" (O3b) inhabitants of the planet who do not yet enjoy broadband Internet connectivity.
By adding these new satellites, the O3b constellation can increase capacity to address rising demand. O3b Networks started full commercial service on September 1, 2014.
The launch marks the resumption of Soyuz launches from the Guiana Space Center, four months after an orbital injection anomaly occurred on the previous Soyuz mission. The European independent Inquiry Board named by Arianespace and the Russian Inquiry Board named by Russian space agency Roscosmos, submitted converging conclusions concerning the cause of this anomaly. Both boards issued a series of recommendations, which were implemented to ensure a fast, secure resumption of launches. The four new O3b satellites have been acquired on their targeted orbit by the O3b Networks team.
As predicted earlier this year, Arianespace has set a new record for annual operations since the introduction of its complete family of launchers, logging a total of 11 launches in 2014.
This impressive performance was made possible by the unflagging effort of the Arianespace teams and its partners at the Guiana Space Center to reduce the time between two missions and optimize preparations for the launches.
After the official announcement of the orbital injection of the four O3b satellites, Stéphane Israël, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace, said: "I would like to express my warm thanks to O3b Networks for once again placing their trust in Arianespace, so the company can develop its offering of innovative telecommunications services in emerging markets. We are very proud of our role in continuing to support the growth of our customer O3b, following the start of commercial service on September 1st. We share with our O3b partners a core commitment to bringing the benefits of space down to people on Earth. Thanks to Thales Alenia Space for the availability of these four additional satellites. I would also like to thank our Russian partners for ensuring the successful return to flight of the Soyuz launcher at the Guiana Space Center. And last but not least, thanks to all the teams at Arianespace, to our partners CNES/CSG and to all spaceport employees for their exceptional commitment throughout 2014, enabling us to set this new record of 11 launches during the year. Meeting this objective was not a foregone conclusion, and nothing would have been possible without the all-out commitment of everybody involved.”
Jean Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space said: “This launch is a new major step in the deployment of the O3b constellation and provides further proof of Thales Alenia Space's leadership in telecom constellations. We are very proud to be working with our customer O3b on this exciting endeavor that provides telecommunications services and high-speed Internet connectivity to billions of people who were previously unable to access broadband services.”
Steve Collar, CEO of O3b said: “O3b already provides connections to customers who bring life changing connectivity in remote places such as Papua New Guinea, East Timor, The Cook Islands, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan and customer feedback has been excellent. O3b Networks is definitively a “game changer” for Internet connectivity and we are pleased to have a strong partnership with Thales Alenia Space to provide the O3b satellites.”. =The O3b satellites are built by Thales Alenia Space. Each one has 12 steerable antennas and 12 Ka-band transponders. The four new satellites will be placed in a circular equatorial orbit at an altitude of about 8,000 km, where they will join the first eight satellites in the constellation.
As of December 18, 2014, 221 Ariane launches, 36 Soyuz launches (10 at the Guiana Space Center and 26 at Baikonur with Starsem), and three Vega launches have been performed. The company’s headquarters is in Evry, near Paris, and has local offices in Washington, DC (United States), Tokyo (Japan) and Singapore.