Microsoft is switching from a collaborator to a client of SES’ next-generation O3b mPOWER broadband constellation, that the company maintains is on track despite the possibility of a COVID-19 supply chain disruption. SES previously collaborated with Microsoft’s Azure cloud company, as well as other cloud providers like AWS and IBM, to ensure that O3b mPOWER customers may access their services virtually without having to go via local servers and infrastructure.
Microsoft will purchase managed services from the SES for Azure as part of the arrangement, which will also help the software corporation’s Azure Orbital ground station services business. Before the network is improved next year with much better broadband rates from O3b mPOWER spacecraft, Microsoft is going to use SES’ existing medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites.
In a statement, William Chappell, Azure Global vice president stated, “Using SES’ medium earth orbit (MEO) system boosts the capability of Azure Orbital and allows us to deliver higher resiliency and broader satellite connectivity capabilities for our customers.” “Our partnership with SES is vital to realizing our goal of multi-orbit, cloud-authorized capability to address critical industry requirements.”
SES has committed to co-locating 4 O3b mPOWER ground sites at or around Azure data facilities earlier. 11 O3b mPOWER satellites are being built by Boeing. They will be launched by 4 SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets in total. Despite pandemic-related interruption and the widespread Delta version continuing to pose supply chain problems, Jim Chilton, who works at the Boeing Defense, Space & Security as a senior vice president, stated the first 3 are on schedule to deploy together on the Falcon 9 towards the end of 2021.
“I think everyone in business has seen major COVID-related repercussions over the last one year and a half,” Chilton said during a press conference on August 17. “The good news is that we’ve been able to maintain this production plant [in El Segundo, California] running, and we’ve been able to re-course our build to accommodate the requirements of our collaborators who are feeding us components that we’re not building for ourselves, even though case rates around the world haven’t been consistent, and regulatory regimes — what you have to do in any given location — vary by business.”
“We will have to keep a close eye on it,” he continued. SES CEO Steve Collar, who also participated in the virtual news conference, said the business decided to launch the mPOWER satellites in groups of three at first, even though four can fit on a Falcon 9. Collar stated, “We’re still aiming to get [the very first three] off towards the very end of this year.” “It might be a close call. It may be a gift for Christmas or the New Year.”