Arianespace’s Soyuz launch for O3b Networks: Elation and joy in the Spaceport’s mission control room
Today’s Arianespace Soyuz flight for O3b Networks was another demonstration that mission success not only results from the accuracy of a launch vehicle, but also comes from the dedication, commitment and devotion of industry and customer teams.
Joining for a celebratory “family photo” in the Spaceport’s Jupiter control room following the successful Flight VS05 are (from left to right): Bernard Chemoul, Spaceport director for the CNES French space agency; Jean-Loïc Galle, President and Chief Executive Officer of Thales Alenia Space; Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks; Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël; Steve Collar, CEO of O3b Networks; John Dick, O3b Networks’ chairman; and Alexander Lopatin, Deputy Head of the Russian Roscosmos space agency.
With the orbiting of O3b Networks’ initial four Thales Alenia Space-built satellites, a new era is global connectivity is opening – to be provided by a constellation of Ka-band spacecraft that combines the global reach of satellite coverage with the speed of fiber-optic networks. O3b Networks’ goal is to bring such service to the estimated “other three billion” people who currently do not benefit from such levels of Internet connectivity.
The suspense was clearly evident in the Spaceport’s mission control room during today’s 2 hour, 22 minute flight, followed by an outpouring of jubilation when the four satellites were confirmed successfully deployed from Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage.
The following are excerpts from post-launch comments of key company executives who were at the Spaceport’s mission control center for Arianespace’s Soyuz Flight VS05:
Steve Collar, Chief Executive Officer of O3b Networks:
“For the last few years, our life at O3b has been about building stuff. We’ve been building satellites, we’ve been building ground stations, we’ve been building infastructure, we’ve been building our company. From today, that all changes. From today, our business is about our customers.
We live in an extraordinary time. I don’t believe that any of us would trade this time for any previous generation. We have access to spectacular, exponential technologies that drive our world and improve our lives. The Internet is now established as the key infrastructure that supports every sector of the economy and is a fundamental driver of productivity, innovation and economic growth.
It is the most transformational technology of our time. And yet, this transformational technology is not available to everyone. There are over two billion people that are already connected, and over the next 10 years a further three billion will connect for the very first time. Three billion new minds that we’ve never heard from before connecting to the global conversation.
As our customers reach out further and further into the remote and rural communities and populations of the world, O3b will provide the critical infrastructure to connect, to reach further and to do more.”
Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël:
“The main reason why I feel pride tonight is that O3b Networks is the 33rd new entrant in the satellite telecommunication business to choose Arianespace for starting its operation. I hope that the service we offered you fully met your expectations and will allow you to begin your journey in the most successful way for the benefits of your own customers.
It is indeed an honor for Arianespace to contribute to such an endeavor aiming at reducing the digital divide for the benefit of the other three billion people living in emerging and insufficiently connected areas…living in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.
For O3b Networks, it is a special day, when an American dream – imagining an innovative satellite constellation to reduce the digital divide – becomes reality based on the commitment of a European satellite manufacturer, Thales Alenia Space, the robustness of a Russian launcher, Soyuz, and the reliability of Arianespace, a worldwide leader in space transportation service and solutions. It is a very special day when space abolishes all barriers and overcomes all frontiers for a better world and more growth.
I believe Arianespace and O3b Networks have started writing a story that will remain as a great accomplishment in the space industry.”
Jean-Loïc Galle, President and Chief Executive Officer, Thales Alenia Space:
“Usually we have one satellite to take care of [for a launch]; today we had four satellites, so my emotion was four-times bigger than usual.
I would like to thank Arianespace and Stéphane [Israël] first. They have done a fantastic job once again. It seems so simple to have success, but as an engineer we know it is not that simple. So thank you, thank you very much to Arianespace.
And thank you O3b for your trust to make us a part of this fantastic journey.”