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Soyuz carrier rocket with four communications satellites blasts off from Kourou

July 10, 2014, 23:49 UTC+3 PARIS
The satellites are designed to provide high-speed internet access to three billion people in different countries across the world
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© ITAR-TASS/EPA/ SERGEI ILNITSKY

PARIS, July 10. /ITAR-TASS/. A Russian Soyuz-ST carrier rocket with four O3b Networks communications satellites was launched from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana on Thursday.

The satellites are designed to provide high-speed internet access to three billion people in different countries across the world. They will be put into an 8,000-kilometer orbit.

The overall cost of the project exceeds $1 billion. The first four O3b satellites were orbited in June 2013 as part of a program to build a cluster of up to 20 satellites which will provide high-speed Internet service in remote areas where optical fiber cables cannot be laid.

The satellites were built and launched for the company O3b Network, which was founded with the financial assistance of Google.

The name of the project “O3b Networks” is the short from “other 3 billion” and aims to bring Internet to the poorest nations in different parts of the world.

Unlike satellites working on higher orbits, these ones will transmit the signal with a smaller delay and cover an area stretching from Spain to South Africa, a large part of South America and Asia, and all islands in the South Pacific.

The satellites made by Thales Alenia Space weigh 650 kilograms each, compared to regular satellites of 4 to 6 metric tons. The equipment they are carrying works four times faster than the previous versions.

Another four O3b Networks satellites are to be launched in early 2015.

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