08 June 2018
| Natalie Bannerman
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted SES permission to expand its US O3b fleet in the Medium Earth Orbit (MEO).
By enabling the grant the SES has
access to additional frequencies to use in its
non-geostationary (NGSO) constellation and enables it to deploy
O3b mPOWER satellites into inclined and equatorial orbits,
delivering full global pole-to-pole coverage.
"This important FCC grant provides SES with the means to
grow and scale our network, connecting the planet and
delivering world class solutions to our customers globally,"
said Steve Collar, president and CEO of SES. "With the first 7
O3b mPOWER satellites, we will deliver a paradigm shift in
performance, bandwidth and service. The FCC grant provides the
platform to exponentially scale the network in response to
surging demand for global data connectivity."
As a result a total of 26 new O3b satellites have been
authorised, in addition to the existing 16 already operational
and in orbit. The grant allows SES to add 4 satellites to its
existing constellation, which are scheduled for launch in 2019.
Additionally the grant gives SES the framework to triple its
O3b mPOWER fleet by giving it US market access for another 22
high-powered satellites, 7 of which are already in construction
and scheduled for launch in 2021.
The O3b mPOWER constellation will deliver added scale and
flexibility to the O3b MEO model. The 7 O3b mPOWER MEO
satellites that SES has ordered will have more than 30,000
dynamic, electronically-generated, fully-shapeable and
steerable beams that can be shifted and switched in real time
following customers’ needs. Each satellite boasts
more than 10 times the capability of the current O3b satellites
with increased flexibility.
SES first announced its plans to launch the O3b satellite
network back in September 2017. At the time the company
said it would "create an environment of service and technology
partners around the world, which will invest in ground
But SES aren’t the only satt comms company
lobbying the FCC in the space arena these days.
In February, Elon Musk’s SpaceX was endorsed
by the FCC to build a satellite-based internet network. Pai
said that SpaceX is helping to bridge America’s
digital divide particularly in the country’s hard
to reach rural areas.
Federal Communications Commission,