Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, has been awarded a contract by SES, one of the world’s leading satellite operators, to design and develop SES-14, a highly innovative telecommunications satellite.
SES-14 is the first high-power satellite in the 4-tonne class. It will be based on Airbus Defence and Space’s ultra-reliable Eurostar platform in its E3000e variant, which exclusively uses electric propulsion for orbit raising (EOR), taking advantage of the reduction in mass that this technology enables with an exceptionally large payload.
The satellite combining power and flexibility will have a double mission. The first will be a wide-beam payload of C and Ku-band, covering the Americas plus a link to Europe. The other payload, called High Throughput Satellite (HTS) with numerous user beams, will combine an on-board processor with multi-beam coverage of the Americas and the North Atlantic.
“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,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “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”.
Martin Halliwell, Chief Technical Officer, SES, commented: “The procurement of SES-14, is a boost to our offer to customers in the Americas and further solidifies SES’s positioning in dynamic and demanding markets. The new spacecraft combines a large footprint with a powerful hybrid capacity offer and significant spacecraft technology innovations. It will help us to capture important growth potential, address the needs of video and enterprise customers and support the development of Next Generation Video and Next Generation Data services. Furthermore, it complements O3b’s high throughput satellite capacity in the medium earth orbit and helps us to deliver a truly unique and integrated offering”.
SES-14 will carry seven antennas. It will have a take-off weight of 4,200 kg and an electric power of 16 kW. The satellite is scheduled for launch in late 2017and its electric propulsion system will enable it to reach geostationary orbit in four months, depending on the type of launcher used. Its nominal operational position will be 47.5/48 degrees West. It has been designed to remain in service in orbit for more than 15 years.
SES-14 is the 12th Eurostar satellite and the second all-electric satellite ordered by SES to Airbus Defence and Space. Nine of these satellites are in operational service and two are under construction.