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Soyuz April 25, 2013

The dawn of a new era in connectivity: O3b Networks’ first four satellites arrive for the next Arianespace Soyuz launch

Two of O3b’s four satellites delivered to French Guiana are unloaded in their protective shipping containers from the An-124 cargo jetliner (photo at left). In the photo at right, all four spacecraft are ready for the convoy from Cayenne’s Félix Eboué airport to the Spaceport.

The initial four O3b spacecraft to be launched by Arianespace on Soyuz have arrived in French Guiana, taking the global satellite operator one step closer to its goal of deploying a next-generation network that provides emerging market customers with access to fast, flexible and affordable connectivity.

These satellites are now in the Spaceport’s S1 payload processing facility near the city of Kourou, having been transferred by road after arriving aboard a chartered Antonov An-124 cargo jetliner at Cayenne’s Félix Eboué airport earlier in the week.

“It is beautiful day in Kourou,” Bob Morris, O3b Networks’ Vice President of Space Systems, wrote in the company’s blog after the spacecraft were delivered.

Arianespace’s Soyuz mission for O3b is scheduled for June, marking the medium-lift vehicle’s fifth flight from French Guiana since its 2011 introduction at the equatorial launch site.

O3b’s Ka-band satellites were built by prime contractor Thales Alenia Space, and are to be positioned at a medium-orbit altitude of approximately 8,060 km. – offering high speed, low cost, low-latency Internet and telecommunications services to emerging markets. In addition to the first batch of spacecraft lofted by the upcoming Soyuz mission in June, another Arianespace flight is scheduled to obit four more later this year, followed by an additional four in 2014.

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