The O3b Satellite Constellation is a new satellite constellation designed for telecommunications and data backhaul from remote locations. The new constellation is scheduled for deployment in 2013 & 2014. The first 4 satellites were launched on 25 June 2013, with 4 more satellites being launched in 2014. There are plans to extend this to 16 satellites.
The constellation is owned and operated by O3b Networks, Ltd..
O3b satellites will be deployed in a circular orbit along the equator at an altitude of 8063 km (medium earth orbit) at a velocity of approximately 11,755 mph (18,918 km/h). Initially, the 8 satellites will rise and set every 45 minutes however this will fall to 22.5 minutes if plans to add an additional 8 satellites to the constellation do materialize.
Each satellite will be equipped with 12 fully steerable Ka band antennas (2 beams for gateways, 10 beams for remotes) that will use 4.3 GHz of spectrum (2×216 MHz per beam) with a proposed throughput of 1.2 Gbit/s per beam (600 MBit/s per direction), resulting in a total capacity of 12 GBit/s per satellite. O3b claims a mouth-to-ear one-way latency of 179 milliseconds for voice communication, and an end-to-end round-trip latency of 238ms for data services. The maximum throughput per TCP connection will be 2.1 Mbit/s. For maritime applications, O3b claims a round-trip latency of 130ms, and connectivity speeds of over 500 Mbit/s.
Each beam's footprint will measure 700 km in diameter. Satellites will be powered by gallium arsenide solar arrays and Lithium ion batteries and will weigh approximately 700 kilograms (1,500 lb) each.
The contract for construction of the satellite vehicles was awarded to Thales Alenia Space, a division of Thales Group, the first satellite (PFM) has been built in the Cannes Mandelieu Space Center, while the rest of the constellation is assembled, integrated and tested in Rome, in the facilities of Thales Alenia Space Italy.
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