SES CEO Steve Collar used the World Satellite Business Week to announce it would shortly begin ordering new satellites, specifically designed to operate over any part of the planet. The concept is to build identical, almost generic, satellites, and not to design craft for specific locations.
Moreover, it is also looking to launch 3 satellites on a single rocket, which would then place them into their correct orbital locations. This would be significantly less costly than using 3 rockets, or even placing two satellites onto a rocket which is commonplace.
Collar said that in the future SES would only buy one type of satellite. “Exactly the same spacecraft can be operated at 19.2 degrees, 23.5 degrees, 108 degrees East, it doesn’t matter. We can put them wherever we want.”
SES CTO Martin Halliwell said that subject to Board approval he would start talking to potential vendors by the end of this month, and begin the buying process early next year. The new satellites would be in the 2.5-2.9 tonnes range, suggesting they would be powered electrically. Three potential satellite builders have been pre-selected for the final bidding process.
These new satellites would follow on from the mPower fleet of 7 satellites being built by Boeing and which would start launching in 2021.