Boeing Defense, Space & Security has a new contract to build an all-electric, “small platform” satellite for SES S.A., which intends to use the system to provide WiFi and in-flight entertainment coverage for its airline customers in the northern Western Hemisphere (North America, Central America and the Caribbean.) The satellite, a Boeing 702SP model designated SES-15 will be built in El Segundo, Calif., for delivery in 2017. The system will have a payload of up to an 8 kW.
Boeing is one of three entities awarded contracts by SES for new satellites. It did not indicate the value of the contract. It will be the twelfth satellite that SES has ordered from Boeing in more than 25 years, and the first of Boeing’s all-electric propulsion satellites.
The 702SP is Boeing’s newest satellite design, introduced in 2012 and in service since 2013. It is designed to operate in the low- to mid-power ranges (3 to 8 kW), and features all-electric propulsion, which minimizes spacecraft launch mass and maximizes available payload.
“We designed the 702SP satellite to meet our customer’s mission requirements as efficiently as possible by reducing the spacecraft mass to take advantage of low cost launch vehicles while maximizing the revenue-generating capability of the payload,” according to Mark Spiwak, president of Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc.
The 702SP’s lightweight design means it can be launched on most commercial launch systems (including Falcon 9, Ariane 5, Sea Launch, Proton, Soyuz, Atlas 5 and Delta IV.)
“The procurement of SES-15 will strengthen our position in the important North American government and mobility markets,” stated SES chief technical officer Martin Halliwell. “The hybrid payload with wide beams and high throughput capacity gives aeronautical, maritime and governmental customers unprecedented flexibility to develop next generation data services.”
Luxembourg-based SES is one of the world’s largest telecommunications satellite operators, with a fleet of 54 geostationary satellites able to reach 99% of the world’s population. In addition to the new Boeing contract it placed an order with Airbus Space and Defence for a new satellite it will position to serve the Americas and the North Atlantic. This will be
"SES once again demonstrates its responsiveness in a changing market, and we are pleased to be able to provide them with our very best technological innovation for both the payload and the platform," stated Airbus Space Systems executive François Auque. "On SES-14, as on SES-12, the mass saving from electric propulsion enables us to combine two high-capacity missions, equivalent to two conventional satellites in one satellite."
A third contract was placed with Orbital ATK Inc. by a joint venture of SES and the government of Luxembourg, for a multi-mission satellite using dedicated military frequencies (X-band and military Ka-band) to provide high-powered and fully steerable spot beams for multiple government-specific missions.