Boeing delivers two internet satellites to SES • The Register

Boeing has delivered a pair of O3b mPOWER satellites to telecoms network provider SES – and had a dig at rival space broadband technologies along the way.

The spacecraft is scheduled to launch into a Medium Earth orbit (MEO) of about 5,000 miles (8,000km) next month.

Once in orbit, the satellites will provide “low-latency, high-throughput connectivity to users around the world,” Boeing said. The satellites will do this by using 5,000 steerable beams in each bird.

The chief technology officer of the SES, Ruy Pinto, explained that the satellites would provide connectivity to government and businesses in remote regions – areas often without such services.

“In times of natural disasters, when networks are disrupted, O3b mPOWER’s low-latency services can quickly restore critical communications networks,” said Pinto.

The satellites will also be able to be redirected so that they are not locked to a particular customer.

“Instead of relying on fewer, larger, fixed beams, or a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) propagation constellation covering vast regions—systems that struggle to meet high-density demand—beams are in- shaped on the software-driven O3b mPOWER system. repositioned based on real-time data from SES customer terminals, delivering a better end-user experience,” said Boeing.

That’s a swipe at SpaceX’s controversial Starlink broadband satellite constellation, and Amazon’s planned rival called “Project Kuiper”. Both require thousands of satellites, baffling astronomers and creating orbital hazards that other satellite operators must navigate.

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Low Earth Orbit satellites have proliferated, to the point where the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in September that it is “no longer sustainable to leave satellites in LEO to decommission for years. ” The agency wants to require space operators to pull their equipment from orbit after five years of residency. Previous rules allowed for 25 years.

Apparently, SES and other operators have backed off.

Satellites in MEOs face other challenges – such as increased exposure to radiation. And for this reason, these O3b mPOWER satellites are equipped with custom designed more intense solar arrays. Other features include a software-defined Boeing 702X payload that includes those 5,000 beams per satellite. The full constellation will include multi-terbit capacity and electronically steered phased array antennas.

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According to the aerospace major, the other nine satellites contracted by SES are still being built, tested or integrated. When they are ready, they can be sent in pairs or groups of three. Two additional launches are planned for the first quarter of 2023, with the service due to be available months later in the third quarter. ®


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