SES and ESA to Enable GovSatCom with Medium Earth Orbit Constellation

SES’s satellite communications platform for governments and institutions will include medium-earth satellite networks 


Luxembourg, 4 May 2022 – SES announced today that its non-geostationary medium-earth orbit (MEO) satellite network will now be part of the GovSatCom-grade satellite communications platform that it has developed with the co-funding by ESA. Thanks to SES’s O3b high-throughput, low-latency and secure communications features, its MEO satellite network is ideal for data-intensive applications sought by the European governments, including Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) operations, high-performance networks, cloud services and allowing for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and more.


The new agreement with ESA succeeds PACIS-1 that resulted in the development of a dedicated platform comprising geostationary satellites for governments and institutions — SES’s REACH platform. The new agreement will see the technical integration of the non-geostationary satellites in MEO into the platform, enabling users with even higher performance thanks to the SES’s first MEO constellation, O3b, and its upcoming second-generation MEO system, O3b mPOWER.


Depending on the connectivity needs for their missions, governmental and institutional users will soon be able to leverage a multi-orbit satellite network. High-workload missions that require the transmission of a lot of data in a secure manner will be able to rely on SES’s O3b and O3b mPOWER system, whereas the GEO networks will continue to be best used to enable delivery over a large region in the most cost-effective manner.


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. Most recently, SES was 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.


“As Europe and its key entities and institutions seek an increasingly resilient, autonomous and quickly accessible satellite communications service, we are working closely with the industry leaders to make this a reality. In this case, the 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.”


“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,” said Philippe Glaesener, Senior Vice President for Defence, Security and Institutions at SES. “We not only provide the secure satcom service but also make sure that our government and institutional customers have the necessary level of control, while accessing the most innovative and performant systems that exist on the market.”