SES and Microsoft team up to boost Azure's satellite connectivity

Satellites beaming a signal to Earth

Microsoft has teamed with SES Satellites to enhance its Azure Orbital solutions.

Microsoft will leverage SES’s medium Earth orbit (MEO) system, O3b mPOWER, as part of their partnership to boost Azure’s satellite connectivity.

SES’ O3b mPOWER communications system consists of an initial constellation of 11 low-latency, high-throughput satellites and ground infrastructure.

This terabit-scale orbital constellation, scheduled to launch in 2021, will operate in medium Earth orbit — about 8,000 km (4,970 miles) above the Earth’s surface. Upon becoming fully operational in 2022, O3b mPOWER will provide high-speed connectivity ranging from 50Mbps to multiple gigabits per second.

According to SES, O3b mPOWER “will deliver an unprecedented increase of flexibility and throughput speed and capacity to any Azure Network locations on earth.”

"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 at Microsoft.

Chappell added, “Our collaboration with SES is key to delivering on our vision of multi-orbit, cloud-enabled capability to meet critical industry needs."

SES is also the first satellite operator to implement an open network automation platform (ONAP) using NFV technology on Azure. Building on its partnership, SES is co-locating four of its eight O3b mPOWER gateways at Azure data centers.

“Microsoft deploying our ground-breaking O3b mPOWER system is yet another step in our collaboration to bring high-performance, low latency Azure cloud services to customers around the globe,” said JP Hemingway, SES CEO.

“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.”