Microsoft expands relationship with SES

Luxembourg satellite operator SES has signed on Microsoft as the first cloud provider for its next-generation medium Earth orbit system, the company said on Wednesday after unveiling the first satellites of the constellation a day before.

SES is planning to launch the first three of its so-called O3b mPower satellites in December and on Tuesday unveiled the hardware at a Boeing factory in California. Two further launches are scheduled for next year.

Microsoft has signed up as the network’s first customer providing cloud services, SES said in a statement on 18 August. It will be using SES’ current medium Earth orbit connectivity before switching to O3b mPower next year, the company said.

“Utilising SES’ medium earth orbit system enhances the power of Azure Orbital and enables us to deliver greater resiliency and comprehensive satellite connectivity solutions for our customers,” said William Chappell, vice president of Azure Global, Microsoft’s cloud computing service.

SES and Microsoft in September 2020 signed a multi-year agreement, with SES expanding the use of Azure across its operations. The Azure partnership also sees the satellite company locating and managing four O3b mPower ground stations next to Azure data centre locations.

“SES customers will enjoy improved network performance, speed-to-market, flexibility and scalability to route over Microsoft’s global network,” the Luxembourg-headquartered company said at the time.

Under the deal announced on Wednesday, Microsoft will be the customer to deliver flexibility and throughput speed and capacity to any of its Azure locations on Earth.

“O3b mPOWER will introduce new levels of cloud-scale satellite connectivity, intelligent automation and managed services that extend the reach and unleash the capabilities of cloud players like never before,” said JP Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks.

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