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The first four of O3b Ka-band broadband satellites have reached equatorial orbit, the first of three Soyuz flights that startup O3b says could ultimately total up to 120 satellites, reports Space News.

The four O3b medium orbit satellites are not “stationary” like Geo orbit satellites. They operate over the equator, but at an altitude of 8,063 kilometers, close enough to the Earth’s surface to eliminate the signal latency, although ground terminals will require a tracking dish.

O3B, funded by satellite giant SES and Google, among others, hopes the satellite will provide low-cost backhaul for cell sites in remote locations.

Thales Alenia Space is under contract to build the first 12 O3b satellites. A total of 12 O3b Networks satellites are to be orbited by Arianespace in groups of four, with the next mission planned for later this year, and another in 2014.

O3b and SES officials have said that the company has regulatory rights to sufficient spectrum to put as many as 120 satellites in the same unusual orbit.

According to SpaceNews, O3b is making use of radio spectrum originally won, following a long battle, by a U.S. company called Teledesic, which had envisioned more than 800 satellites to provide broadband links worldwide. Teledesic ceased operations before launching its satellites.

Google will also use high-flying balloons to deliver Internet to remote areas. Google’s Project Loon sails through the stratosphere, where there are different wind layers. Using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the balloons are maneuvered by identifying the wind layer with the desired speed and direction and then adjusting altitude to float in that layer.

Related DailyWireless Space and Satellite News includes; Google Backhaul: Balloons & Satellites, O3B: Funded for Launch, Arianespace: Busy 2013, Gilat Does Satellite Cell Backhaul, SkyTerra 1 Launched, Broadband Satellites: Black Hole?, LightSquared: Phase 1, Intelsat Announces EpicNG Satellite Platform , Satellite 2012, Formation Flying Swarmbots, Flying Cell Towers,

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