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SES orders two more Falcon 9 launches from SpaceX – Spaceflight Now

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File picture of a Falcon 9 launch from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy House Middle in Florida. Credit score: SpaceX

SES introduced Thursday it has tapped SpaceX for 2 further Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral to ship extra Boeing-built O3b mPower broadband satellites into orbit, including to a pair of Falcon 9 flights ordered by SES final yr to launch the primary batch of mPower platforms starting in late 2021.

With the 2 launches ordered from SpaceX Thursday, SES has reserved no less than 5 Falcon 9 missions for launches within the subsequent few years.

Primarily based in Luxembourg, SES owns one of many largest fleets of economic communications satellites in geostationary orbit greater than 22,000 miles (almost 36,000 kilometers) over the equator, beaming tv, information and Web providers to prospects world wide.

SES’s O3b community offers Web connectivity to ships, airplanes, growing and island nations, and different prospects on-the-go utilizing a fleet of 20 satellites flying in a novel equatorial medium Earth orbit at an altitude of greater than 5,000 miles, or eight,000 kilometers.

SES ordered seven upgraded O3b satellites from Boeing in 2017 to develop the capability equipped by the community’s unique 20 spacecraft, which had been constructed by Thales Alenia House in France. The satellite tv for pc operator final yr booked two Falcon 9 launches with SpaceX to deploy the following seven O3b satellites in orbit.

The upgraded Ka-band satellites will kind SES’s O3b mPower community. SES says a single O3b mPower satellite tv for pc, every with the power to generate greater than four,000 person beams, may have 10 occasions the capability of the present O3b satellite tv for pc constellation.

The preliminary seven satellites are anticipated to offer 10 terabits of whole throughput, delivering between 50 megabits per second to a number of gigabits per second of capability to a single person. However SES expects customers’ appetites for satellite tv for pc broadband to develop, and the corporate ordered 4 extra O3b mPower satellites from Boeing earlier this month.

SES introduced Thursday that 4 Falcon 9 rockets will launch the block of 11 O3b mPower satellites. That’s a further two launches over the pair of Falcon 9 missions SES reserved final yr.

Primarily based on Boeing’s 702X satellite tv for pc platform, the primary group of O3b mPower satellites, every weighing almost 2 tons, will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in late 2021.

“O3b mPower is the cornerstone of our multi-orbit, cloud-enabled, high-performance community that may serve our enterprise, mobility and authorities prospects into the following decade, and we’re merely a yr away from its first launch,” mentioned Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “We’ve got a powerful and long-standing partnership with SpaceX and we’re excited so as to add the launches of further O3b mPower satellites that may drive increased throughput, higher effectivity and considerably extra bandwidth to our industry-leading community.”

Artist’s illustration of the O3b mPower constellation. Credit score: Boeing

The primary 20 O3b satellites launched on 5 Soyuz rockets from French Guiana between 2013 and 2019 on missions procured from Arianespace.

SES is one in all SpaceX’s high business prospects.

The satellite tv for pc operator launched a payload in 2013 on SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 launch to geostationary switch orbit, the usual drop-off level for telecom spacecraft heading for working positions greater than 22,000 miles over the equator.

SES additionally launched a satellite tv for pc on SpaceX’s first launch of a reused Falcon 9 rocket booster in 2017. The corporate flown satellites on six devoted Falcon 9 launches, and has reserved no less than 5 extra Falcon 9 launches over the following few years, together with the 4 O3b mPower missions.

Together with the announcement Aug. 7 that SES will buy 4 extra O3b mPower satellites from Boeing, the businesses mentioned they’ll associate to supply O3b broadband providers to the U.S. army and different authorities prospects.

“As SES expands the O3b mPower constellation from seven to 11 satellites, Boeing and SES have agreed to collaborate to develop commercially-based service choices and capabilities for the U.S. authorities.” Collar mentioned in an Aug. 7 assertion. “We’ve got constructed our community round a multi-orbit, multi-frequency, high-throughput, versatile and open structure more and more of worth to authorities customers.”

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Comply with Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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