SES has awarded two launch contracts covering 5 satellites to Arianespace, proving that the satellite operator is keen to maintain flexibility in its launch choices.
The first contract looks after the launch of SES-17 which will be launched in 2021 and will be the 53rd SES craft entrusted to Arianespace. SES-17 is a powerful satellite delivering high-speed inflight connectivity and high-powered data services over the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean.
SES-17 is one of the largest in the SES fleet, and the third all-electric craft to be launched by Arianespace for SES. Its target position has not been announced.
The second contract covers the launch of the final batch of 4 satellites in the O3b core constellation. The contract is with Arianespace but they will use a Russian Soyuz rocket in 2019. The Soyuz launch vehicle will carry the quartet of O3b satellites into orbit from the Arianespace facility in French Guiana.
Twelve O3b satellites are already in orbit and the next batch of 4 will launch during 2017. This new contract covers the final 4, although on Sept 11th SES announced they had ordered 7 more satellites (from Boeing) which will also join the O3b fleet ion 2021. No launch contract for these 7 has been announced as yet.