[Via Satellite 10-28-2014] O3b Networks’ next four satellites have been fast tracked from a 2015 launch date to Dec. 18, 2014. The earlier launch date follows the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) decision to delay the launch of the next two Galileo navigation satellites.
In September O3b launched its second batch of four satellites on an Arianespace Soyuz vehicle, bringing the total constellation up to eight spacecraft. The December launch will increase the constellation to 12, from which point it could continue to grow to more than 100 satellites.
Thales Alenia Space, the prime contractor for the first 12 O3b satellites, will ship the spacecraft from Rome, Italy to Kourou, French Guiana in November. From there, Arianespace will launch them also using a Soyuz rocket to a Medium Earth Orbit.