O3b Signs Soyuz Launch Contract with Arianespace for New Satellites

O3b Soyuz Arianespace

Arianespace Soyuz mission VS08 with four O3b satellites. Photo: O3b Networks.

[Via Satellite 12-14-2015] O3b Networks has reached an agreement with Arianespace to launch four new High Throughput Satellites (HTS) aboard a Soyuz rocket in 2018. A few days ago O3b ordered eight additional satellites from Thales Alenia Space, expanding its constellation to 20 spacecraft. Arianespace launched the first 12 O3b satellites to their Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) through three previous Soyuz missions. The new contract secures the launch of four satellites from the Guiana Space Center, along with a firm option for a fifth Soyuz launch in 2018 or later.

The eight new satellites will be based on the design Thales Alenia Space used for the original 12, but with increased performance and new capabilities. O3b recently secured $460 million in incremental financing, which went into expanding the operator’s constellation. Current investors in O3b include SES, Google, Liberty Global, and HSBC.

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