SES acquisition of O3b to deliver transformational satellite connectivity to the U.S. Government

Commercial satellite and network capabilities are evolving, transforming and improving at an unprecedented pace. That evolution enables an ever-expanding group of U.S. Government users, including the Department of Defense (DoD), to capitalize on scalable, cutting-edge solutions to meet their mission requirements. SES, the leading global owner operator of geosynchronous (GEO) commercial satellite communications (COMSATCOM), is at the forefront of this evolution and is uniquely positioned to usher in an even broader suite of solutions to satisfy our Nation’s future connectivity requirements.

With our parent company’s acquisition of O3b on August 1, 2016, SES Space and Defense can now uniquely offer the only scalable Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and GEO combination in the satellite industry. This capability brings the best of GEO wide beam, GEO High Throughput Satellites (HTS), and O3b MEO high throughput and low latency capabilities to its end users.

By leveraging the combined strengths of the SES GEO and the MEO O3b satellite network, SES Space and Defense (SES Space and Defense) brings significant flexibility and game-changing connectivity to the U.S. Government. While the existing SES GEO satellite fleet is ideal for connectivity across a wide coverage area for a large number of simultaneous users, O3b MEO satellite services provide extremely high throughput (up to 1.6 Gigabits per beam, per second) in a more focused region.  Further, O3b satellites are significantly closer to the earth and provide the low latency required for cloud-enabled interactive applications and other real-time communication needs.

The SES GS team has the depth and breadth of understanding for the U.S. Government’s communication needs. By virtue of our team’s diverse operational and strategic military leadership experience, SES Space and Defense is ideally positioned to create solutions capitalizing on the innovations of combined SES and O3b capabilities.

More specifically, we have worked over the last two years with O3b to demonstrate these capabilities through mission-focused applications to dozens of senior leaders including U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. State Department and Pentagon officials.  The applications include large file transfer (100 GB or larger), multiple, simultaneous High Definition Full-Motion Video transmissions, 4G LTE capabilities for a local enclave, and many other high throughput, low latency features.

No longer does the warfighter have to give up speed and throughput when they are deployed. By utilizing our combined GEO and MEO fleet, warfighters have access to  the same net-centric warfare capabilities they have in garrison.  Large files from ISR missions and simultaneous HD videos providing situational awareness can be pushed to the network edge or transported quickly to analysts in rear locations.

Additionally, 4G LTE delivered from O3b’s “fiber in the sky” allows soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines to securely and effectively use their own smartphones and tablets to connect with commanders. With that kind of real-time information at their fingertips, our U.S. leadership can make better-informed, life-saving decisions and maneuvers in the field. These are critical warfighting advantages.

In addition to the significant improvements O3b services will provide to warfighters, SES Space and Defense recently delivered a critical end-to-end solution using O3b in the Western Pacific. The National Weather Service (NWS) is using O3b fiber-like capacity to provide far more timely, reliable and effective weather forecasts and warnings from across the Pacific Ocean Region. Through O3b services provided in a contract between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) and SES Space and Defense, the NWS can now transmit large weather report files from observation offices in American Samoa to scientists and meteorologists in Hawaii and across to the mainland. It is the first O3b services agreement with the U.S. Government, and a great example of how SES Space and Defense and O3b are working more closely than ever to connect government agencies across the globe.

This is an exciting time for the U.S. Government to take advantage of industry’s innovations and breakthroughs. The pendulum has swung and commercial industry is now leading the charge for innovative, leading-edge solutions.  As a result, the U.S. Government end users are able to leverage the scalable capabilities offered by the SES Space and Defense GEO fleet and the game-changing features of O3b at MEO.

For additional information about O3b and its applications for the federal government, click on the following articles and resources:

White Paper: O3b “Fiber Like” Satellite Communications for U.S. Government Applications
Video: Fiber in the Sky
Milsat Magazine: What Fiber in the Sky Means to the Warfighter Today

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