SES orders 6 new satellites
August 10, 2020
By Chris Forrester
SES has confirmed new orders for a total of six craft. Two are from Thales Alenia Space for the FCC C-band scheme, which means SES has now ordered six satellites overall for its C-band geostationary services.
Adding to the flurry of orders, SES confirmed it wanted four additional satellites from Boeing for its expanded mPower Mid-Earth orbiting satellites. Boeing is already building seven mPower craft, ordered back in 2017. Launch dates have slipped a little and it is now intended to see three launched later in 2021, six satellites launched in 2022 and the final pair orbited in 2024 making 11 in total.
Boeing says that its mPower Mid-Earth satellites for SES will be able to beam multiple gigabits/second to customers.
These mPower ‘second generation’ satellites will join the existing O3b fleet of 20 ‘first generation’ craft.
The two additional C-band geostationary satellites (SES-22 and SES-23) are described as “contingency” craft and to ensure compliance with the FCC’s demanding C-band plan and to ensure that SES gets its full incentive payments from the FCC’s upcoming auction.
The 4 extra satellites ordered from Boeing – for a total of $565 million – will take the mPower fleet to 11. Launches are targeted from Q3/2021 to H2/2024. This additional capacity is considerable and will add more than 90 per cent to mPower’s overall throughput. The mPower fleet will be added to the existing O3b global coverage where “utilisation has been exceptionally high” says SES.
“SES and Boeing have agreed to collaborate to develop solutions for Government users that leverage multi-orbit interoperability and capabilities. Commitments secured with major telcos and cruise lines,” said SES.
The mPower fleet will add to SES’s ability to serve its government clients as part of its Network division where it has built a strong performance over the past year or two and now represents more than 40 per cent of SES revenues and up 8.7 per cent year-on-year.