Luxembourg-based SES saw its latest satellite, SES-4, successfully launched late on Feb 14 (at 20.36 CET time). It was a suitable Valentine’s Day gift for the operator, and is the 50th craft in the expanding SES fleet.
SES-4 was launched into orbit by International Launch Services (ILS) which uses the Russian Proton rocket system which, despite two enforced delays for technical glitches, performed flawlessly. Indeed, SES-4 is the 20th SES craft to be launched by Proton. After 9 hours 12 minutes of transfer orbit flight the Breeze-M upper stage successfully released the satellite into orbit.
The new satellite, built by Space Systems/Loral is the largest-ever in the SES fleet, will replace NSS-7 at 338 deg East of London, and bring 52 C-band and 72 Ku-band transponders into use. It has C-band beams serving the Eastern hemisphere of Europe and Africa, full coverage of the Americas, and a global beam to support mobile and maritime customers. Four high-power, regional Ku-band beams provide service to Europe, the Middle East, West Africa, as well as North and South America with extensive channel switching capability between C- and Ku-band transponders for enhanced connectivity.
However, neither SES, ILS/Proton or Space Systems/Loral engineers can rest. SES’ next craft, SES-5, is slated for launch in a few months from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.