SES says it is to change launch vehicles and launch slots for its SES-12 and SES-14 satellites.
Under the new agreements, SES-12 will be launched on a Falcon 9 vehicle from SpaceX in Q1 2018 while SES-14 will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket, also in Q1 2018.
SES says the swap of launches will enable the operator to improve service quality and continuity for its customers. Both SES-12 and SES-14 are using electric propulsion for orbit-raising and will enter into service some four to six months after launch.
The original expectation was for SES-12 to be launched during Q4 2017 by Arianspace, while SES-14 was booked to launch later in 2017, which then slipped to Spring 2018, aboard a SpaceX rocket.
SES-14, manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space, will be positioned at the 47.5 degrees West orbital slot. The C-band payload of SES-14 will replace NSS-806 and will support SES’s cable neighbourhood in Latin America. The Ku-band payload augments the Ku-band capacity on NSS-806 with wide beams and high throughput spot beams covering the Americas and the North Atlantic Region.
The Ku-band spot beams will allow SES to support the increasing demand for aeronautical and maritime mobility applications, cellular backhaul, broadband delivery, and VSAT services for enterprise and government segments. The Ku-band wide beams are designed to provide video and data services in Latin America, the Caribbean, and across the North Atlantic. SES-14 also carries the Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) as a hosted payload for NASA.
SES-12, a very large satellite also manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space, will be positioned at 95 degrees East. The satellite will expand SES’s capabilities to provide direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting, VSAT, Mobility and HTS data connectivity services in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, including rapidly growing markets such as India and Indonesia. The satellite will replace NSS-6 at this location and will be co-located with SES-8. As the largest satellite ever built for SES, SES-12 is capable of supporting requirements in multiple verticals from Cyprus in the West to Japan in the East, and from Russia in the North to Australia in the South.