Sunday, December 18, 2022

SES opens new era with O3b mPOWER MEO constellation

SES heralded the first launch for O3b mPOWER, its second-generation medium earth orbit (MEO) constellation poised to enable tens of thousands of multi-gigabit class spotbeams across the planet. 

SpaceX succesfully orbited the first two satellites, which a software-defined capability to deliver more than 5,000 steerable beams that can be repositioned based on real-time data from SES customers’ terminals. The satellites were launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. 

The satellites are based on Boeing’s 702 platform use Spectrolab’s custom-designed solar arrays built to withstand harsh MEO radiation.

SES contracted with Boeing to deliver 11 O3b mPOWER satellites to SES, Boeing continues production, integration and testing of the remaining nine spacecraft. The O3b mPOWER satellites are also flexible in their launch configuration, with the ability to launch two or three satellites at a time.

SES said its new MEO satellites will be able to deliver roundtrip latency of less than 150 milliseconds. The company is also partnering with Microsoft to bring one-hop connectivity from the satellites into Microsoft Azure data centers. The terabit-scale capacity of the new O3b mPOWER constellation, the automated and software-defined steerable beams of the satellites, upgraded customer terminals and telco/cloud partnerships are expected many new use cases and deployment sites.

“Much more than just another launch, today marks the next milestone of our MEO journey. Since starting this journey, we have gone on to positively impact millions around the world. Today, with our second-generation O3b mPOWER, we are bringing game-changing technology that delivers a unique combination of multiple gigabits per second of throughput at any location, guaranteed reliability and service flexibility that is a first in the industry,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “Whether we are enabling governments to carry out critical missions securely, cruise operators to provide high-speed broadband access to passengers at all times, or mobile network operators to deploy 4G/5G networks in underconnected areas or restore communications networks in down time, O3b mPOWER is the satellite system of choice for applications where performance matters most.”

O3b mPOWER commercial service is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2023.

“SES approached us with a vision to create global equity, by providing people with high-speed connectivity where it wasn’t economically or physically feasible to build fiber infrastructure,” said Jim Chilton, senior vice presiqdent of Space and Launch at Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “We partnered to create a super computer constellation in space to meet that goal, and we can’t wait to see what SES does as the 702X platform’s first user.”

The first stage Falcon 9 booster previously launched CRS-22, Crew-3, Turksat 5B, Crew-4, CRS-25, Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13G and one Starlink mission. It was recovered on a SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic.

SpaceX carries 54 more Starlinks to orbit

SpaceX launched 54 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

It was the 15th mission for the Falcon 9 booster used for this launch. It previously launched Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, Transporter-3, and nine Starlink missions. It was the 58th launch of a Falcon 9 in 2022.

Private equity firm to acquire Maxar for $6.4 billion, a 129% premium

Advent International, a major global private equity investor, agreed to acquire Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR), a provider of space solutions and secure, precise, geospatial intelligence, in an all-cash transaction that values Maxar at an enterprise value of approximately $6.4 billion, representing a premium of approximately 129% over Maxar’s closing stock price of $23.10 on December 15, 2022.. 

Following the close of the transaction, Maxar will is to remain a U.S.-controlled and privately-operated company.

Maxar said that as a private company it will be able to accelerate investments in next-generation satellite technologies and data insights that are vital to its government and commercial customers, as well as pursue select, strategic M&A to further enhance its portfolio of solutions. This includes supporting the successful delivery of the new Legion satellite constellation, accelerating the launch of Legion 7 and 8 satellites and further growing the Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure businesses through investments in next-generation capabilities, such as advanced machine learning and 3D mapping. 

Advent, which has approximately $28 billion invested across the defense, security and cybersecurity sectors in the last three years, said it has substantial expertise supporting many satellite and defense platforms which serve the U.S. government and its allies as well as companies across the globe.

“This transaction delivers immediate and certain value to our stockholders at a substantial premium,” said General Howell M. Estes, III (USAF Retired), Chair of Maxar’s Board of Directors. “Maxar’s mission has never been more important, and this transaction allows us to maximize value for stockholders while accelerating the Company’s ability to deliver its mission-critical technology and solutions to customers over the near and long term.”

“Today’s announcement is an exceptional outcome for stockholders and is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, the value Maxar has created and the reputation we have built in our industry,” said Daniel Jablonsky, President and CEO of Maxar. “Advent has a proven record of strengthening its portfolio companies and a desire to support Maxar in advancing our long-term strategic objectives. As a private company, we will have enhanced flexibility and additional resources to build on Maxar’s strong foundation, further scale operations and capture the significant opportunities in a rapidly expanding market.”

Intelsat's Galaxy 35 and 36 launch on Ariane 5

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Intelsat Galaxy 31 and Galaxy 32 satellites successfully launched

 On Saturday, November 12th, SpaceX successfully launched Intelsat's Galaxy 31 and Galaxy 32 geosynchronous communications satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.Intelsat's Galaxy 31 and Galaxy 32, which were manufactured by Maxar, will ensure service continuity to Intelsat’s North American media customers.Galaxy 31 will replace Galaxy 23 at 121 degrees west and will begin service in early 2023....