Airbus has flown its largest-ever all-electric satellite to Cape Canaveral in readiness for launch by a SpaceX rocket.
SES-12 is the largest and most powerful all electric satellite ever produced, says Airbus. It is based on its Eurostar platform in its E3000e variant, which uses electric propulsion for orbit raising. The related mass saving enables SES-12 to combine two high-capacity missions, equivalent to two conventional satellites, into one extremely large satellite.
SES-12 will launch in May 2018, and replace NSS-6.
To fulfil its dual mission, SES-12 features both wide beams and high throughput spot beams to serve diverse connectivity needs. The communications payload incorporates state-of-the-art solutions, in particular multi-beam antennas linked to a digital signal processor, which enable a multitude of basic spectral channels to be allocated to various beams in a completely flexible manner.
The satellite will provide expansion and replacement capacity to serve the data, mobility, government and video sectors in the Asia-Pacific region.
SES-12 will operate in the Ku and Ka-bands with a total of 76 active transponders and eight antennas. It will have a launch mass of 5,400 kg and an electrical power of 19 kW. It will operate in geostationary orbit at the 95° East location and has been designed to remain in service for more than 15 years.
Together with SES-8, SES-12 will reach 18 million TV homes from its 95°E orbital position, and will provide pay-TV operators the reliability and scalability to deliver high-quality and immersive viewing experiences and address the ever-increasing audience demand for High Definition (HD) and Ultra HD content.