Satellite Industry

Leading satellite firms Eutelsat and SES ready for imminent launches

Two of Europe’s leading satellite firms, France-based Eutelsat and Luxembourg-based SES, announced they are in a high state of readiness for imminent launches.

Eutelsat’s 172B satellite is in the final stages of preparation, according to the company, at the Airbus Defense and Space facility in Toulouse. The satellite will be boarded onto a special flight to French Guiana on March 20. Weighing 3.5 tons, it is the first European-built high-power all-electric satellite, scheduled for an Arian launch on April 25 from the European Spaceport.

The purpose of Eutelsat’s 172B satellite is to deliver increased capacity for fast-growing applications that include video distribution. The satellite will be located at 172° East, which will provide key coverage for Asia Pacific over land and sea, from Alaska to Australia.

The new satellite will replace the previous 172A satellite to provide service continuity and improved performance via C and Ku-band payloads connected to a range of footprints. It will feature an additional new Ku-band multi-beam payload delivering 1.8Gbps of throughput to serve the world’s fastest-growing region (Asia Pacific) with in-flight entertainment and connectivity services.

Meanwhile, the SES-15 satellite has reportedly arrived at the European Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, in preparation for its launch by a Soyuz vehicle in April this year. The new satellite was designed and manufactured by Boeing. It will carry a hybrid payload, with additional Ku-band wide beams and Ku- as well as Ka-band high throughput satellite (HTS) capacity.

SES’s new satellite will feature an electric propulsion system for orbit-raising and in-orbit maneuvers. It is the company’s first hybrid satellite to be launched and will be equipped with 16 Ku-band transponders (36MHz equivalent) and also a 10GHz high throughput payload. The all-electric satellite in contrast to Eutelsat will cover the new orbital position of 129° West and will serve North America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.