Satellite operator SES is buying three satellites in a series of orders that will cost around $1 billion in total to build and launch. One new craft, the hybrid SES-14, will replace and expand the role undertaken by NSS-806 at 47.5/48 degrees West, and add capacity to the location including backing up and providing extra connectivity for the SES-backed O3b fleet.
SES-14 will be built by Airbus Space and Defence, and is scheduled for launch in Q4 2017. SES-14’s Ku-band wide beams will bring “augmented capacity to serve growing Direct-to-Home and Direct-to-Cable video neighbourhoods in the Americas and support existing VSAT services in both bands. The multi-spot Ku- and Ka-band beams will bring additional, high throughput capacity and are ideal for traffic-intensive data applications such as mobile backhaul, maritime and aeronautical services”.
SES-14 is a hybrid satellite with C- and Ku-band wide beam coverage, as well as Ku- and Ka-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) coverage across the Americas and the North Atlantic region. The satellite will fully rely on electric propulsion and will be equipped with an electric plasma propulsion system for orbit raising and in-orbit manoeuvres. The electric propulsion system delivers significant reduction in the weight of the satellite, enabling larger payloads to be carried. The new spacecraft will also feature a Digital Transparent Processor (DTP), increasing the payload flexibility to provide customised bandwidth solutions to SES’s customers.
The second satellite announced on February 16 is SES-15 and again will be a hybrid craft adding Ku- and Ka-band capacity to an all-new orbital location to “provide growth capacity in North America and capture business potential in vibrant market segments”.
Boeing will build SES-15 and the 702SP version is due for launch in Q2/17,and will be an ‘all-electric’ craft. SES-15 will “solidify SES’s positioning in the aeronautical mobility and government markets, providing fresh capacity and coverage over major airline routes across the continent. SES-15 will enable SES to serve its leading aeronautical customers and serve other traffic intensive data applications such as government, VSAT networks and maritime,” said SES.
The third craft, SES-16, is being built as part of a joint-venture with the Luxembourg government (LuxGovSat) and will go to 21 degrees East, an orbital slow already ‘brought into use’ officially by the temporary operation at the location by Astra 2G following its launch on December 28. SES-16/GovSat will be built by Orbital ATK and is expected to launch in Q2/17.
SES-16/GovSat is a multi-mission satellite using dedicated military frequencies (X-band and military Ka-band) to provide high-powered and fully steerable spot beams for multiple government-specific missions. The satellite will cover Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Luxembourg government has pre-committed to a significant amount of capacity on the new satellite in support of its NATO obligations; the remaining capacity will be made available to governmental and institutional customers.