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Hold the champagne: SES CSO says MEO satellite launch is no cake walk

Together with Boeing and SpaceX, SES recently launched two additional O3b mPOWER satellites, the fifth and sixth in a constellation of 13 medium-Earth orbit (MEO) satellites.

Kelsey Ziser

January 2, 2024

At a Glance

  • Partnership with Boeing on manufacturing and testing the satellites (02:57)
  • The many steps to a successful satellite launch (05:35)
  • How the satellites use SDN and 5G (11:20)

John-Paul (JP) Hemingway, chief strategy officer for SES, joins the podcast to explain how the satellite company prepares for and executes a satellite launch. SES recently launched two additional O3b mPOWER satellites, the fifth and sixth in a constellation of 13 medium-Earth orbit (MEO) satellites. 

Hemingway explains how SES tests the satellites with Boeing, its manufacturing partner, and what it takes to launch a satellite with SpaceX. He also discusses the software-defined networking (SDN) and 5G capabilities of the O3b mPOWER satellites and which markets SES provides connectivity to.

Click on the caption button for a lightly edited transcript.

Here are a few topics we cover:

  • Background on Hemingway and his role at SES (00:26)

  • What it takes to get ready to launch a satellite (01:24)

  • Partnership with Boeing on manufacturing and testing the satellites (02:57)

  • Teaming up with SpaceX to launch the satellite (03:23)

  • The many steps to a successful satellite launch (05:35)

  • Progress toward completing this satellite constellation (09:10)

  • How the satellites use SDN and 5G (11:20)

  • Use cases and markets for MEO satellite connectivity (15:55)

  • Differences between MEO and LEO (low-Earth orbit) satellites (18:15)

  • What's next for the O3b mPOWER satellite constellation (24:18)

  • *Editor's Note: At 25:50 Hemingway misstates that there will be a total of 14 satellites. There will be a total of 13 satellites in this O3b mPOWER constellation.

Related:Partner Report - Monetizing Enterprise 5G in 2024: Strategies for Telcos to Maximize Slicing, Edge, and FWA Revenues

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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