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First batch of four O3b satellites ready for shipping to launch site

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The first four satellites in the O3b medium Earth orbit (MEO) constellation, operated by O3b Networks, are ready to be shipped to the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

They will leave Thales Alenia Space's Rome facility in early April, and will be launched by Arianespace, using a Soyuz launcher. The second batch of four satellites will also be launched in 2013, and the third batch during the first half of 2014.

Positioned at an altitude of 8,063 kilometers, four times closer to the earth than geostationary satellites, these Ka-band satellites will offer high speed, low cost, low-latency Internet and telecommunications services in emerging markets. O3b Networks will supply trunking and mobile backhaul connectivity to telecom operators at speeds comparable to those offered by fiber-optic networks.

Having expanded the constellation from eight to twelve satellites, O3b Networks will virtually double its capacity and guarantee greater service availability and reliability.

"This initial delivery marks a major step forward in the prestigious O3b program," said Nathalie Smirnov, EVP Telecommunications at Thales Alenia Space. "The O3b satellites are based on our EliteBus platform, already proven in orbit and perfectly suited to telecommunications constellations, with excellent performance and a secure development process."

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