Aerospace giant Boeing used the opening of the Euroconsult World Satellite Business Week in Paris to outline its plans for a new range of satellites.
The new versions are Boeing 702X, a direct follow-on from its well-established Boeing 702 variants which have flowed out of its El Segundo facility since 1997.
Boeing 702X is based on a range of 7 satellites on order for SES subsidiary O3b, a medium Earth orbiting (MEO) fleet that’s being readied for 2021 launch. SES is expected to announce it launch contractor later this year.
While the SES/O3b fleet weigh just 1100 kgs each, the new geostationary version will weigh some 1900 kgs (net, unfuelled) and could be ready for launch in 3 years.
The SES O3b versions will be launched, probably as a triple payload, by SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.
Boeing’s VP/Global commercial sales, Eric Jensen, talking to trade newspaper Space News, says that the new satellites embrace reprogrammable software-defined solid-state payloads. The savings in on-board processing and cabling is dramatic, and include 3D printing techniques.