O3b Delays Launch to 2014 for Additional Spacecraft Testing

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PARIS — Startup satellite broadband provider O3b Networks on Sept. 9 said its planned Sept. 30 launch of four satellites aboard a European Soyuz rocket has been delayed until early 2014 “for additional testing” to be conducted by the company.

O3b, based in Britain’s Channel Islands, did not detail the nature of the problem, which will delay the company’s commercial service start date. O3b launched its first four satellites earlier this year and had been counting on the second group of four — with a third to be launched in 2014 — to start commercial introduction of its high-speed broadband delivery.

In addition to whatever issue O3b has on its satellites, the company is fighting for access to the Europeanized Soyuz rocket, whose 2014 manifest is already crowded with launches of Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation constellation.