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SES to enable GovSatCom satellite broadband with medium Earth orbit constellation

Luxembourg-based satellite provider SES delivers communications platform for governments and institutions will include medium Earth orbit satellite networks in project co-funded by leading European space agency

Satellite operator SES has announced that its non-geostationary medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellite network will now be part of the governmental satellite communications (GovSatCom)-grade satellite communications platform it has developed with funding from the European Space Agency (ESA).

Based on O3b high-throughput, low-latency and secure communications, the MEO satellite network is designed for data-intensive applications sought by European governments, such as remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) operations, high-performance networks and cloud services, and allowing for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

The agreement with ESA is an evolution of the Pacis-1 project that resulted in the development of a dedicated platform comprising geostationary (GEO) satellites for governments and institutions – the SES Reach platform. The Reach platform capability was developed by SES specifically for European governmental and institutional users requiring GovSatCom-level services for safety, security and emergency response.

SES was recently awarded the framework contract by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) that provides, through Reach, a satcom service in Ku-, Ka- and military-Ka band and ground segment for RPAS connectivity across multiple coastal regions of the European Union.

The new agreement is designed to see the technical integration of the non-geostationary satellites in MEO into the platform, providing users with even higher performance through SES’s first MEO constellation, O3b, and its upcoming second-generation MEO system, O3b mPOWER.

Depending on the connectivity needs of their missions, governmental and institutional users will soon be able to use a multi-orbit O3b and O3b mPOWER satellite network to support high-workload missions that require the transmission of a lot of data in a secure manner.

At the same time, the GEO networks will continue to be best used to enable delivery over a large region in what is claimed to be the most cost-effective manner.

“As Europe and its key entities and institutions seek an increasingly resilient, autonomous and quickly accessible satellite communications service, we are working closely with industry leaders to make this a reality. In this case, SES’s existing GEO platform is extended to MEO to provide service for high-workload needs for governments,” said Elodie Viau, director for telecommunications at ESA.

“I am proud that the initial pooling and sharing system developed in Pacis-1 now makes the next step and becomes multi-orbit, through integrating the best of commercial satellite innovation for the benefit of Europe,” added Viau.

Philippe Glaesener, senior vice-president for defence, security and institutions at SES, said: “With the integration of the MEO capabilities in the GovSatCom-dedicated Reach platform – namely the O3b and second-generation O3b mPOWER system – government and institutional users in Europe will be able to enjoy the benefits of a multi-orbit satellite network as they efficiently utilise the right type of satellite network for the right application.”

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