SES-15 satellite launches from French Guiana spaceport

SES-15 launches from French Guiana. Image: Arianespace.
SES-15 launches from French Guiana. Image: Arianespace.

SES-15, an all-electric telecommunications satellite, has been launched by Arianespace aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle from Kourou in French Guiana.

The flight lifted off at 08:54:53 a.m. (local time in French Guiana) on Thursday 18th May with the launcher carrying its payload to a geostationary transfer orbit.

Luce Fabreguettes, Arianespace’s Executive Vice President Missions, Operations and Purchasing, said that Arianespace has five more SES satellites in the company’s launch services backlog – including another electric satellite, SES-12 – along with four additional O3b spacecraft.

Delivered into a geostationary transfer orbit by the Soyuz, the telecom satellite will achieve its final position under the power of an all-electrical ion propulsion system – SES’s first satellite to use such technology.

SES-15 Ku-band HTS capacity

Once located at 129 degrees West, SES-15 will serve as SES’ first hybrid satellite, offering a mix of wide-beam coverage and High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capacity.

Its coverage area extends over North America, Mexico and Central America, stretching from Arctic Alaska to the south of Panama and from Hawaii to the Caribbean.

It will provide Ku‐band wide-beam and Ku‐band HTS capability, with connectivity to gateways in the Ka‐band.

Its relay payload covers the aeronautical sector and will enable other traffic‐intensive data applications for government, VSAT (very small aperture terminal) networks and maritime.

SES-15 also carries a Wide Area Augmentation System‐hosted (WAAS) payload, enabling the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to augment the Global Positioning System (GPS), providing improving accuracy, integrity and availability for the aviation industry.

Built by Boeing at its El Segundo, California facility, SES‐15 had an estimated lift-off mass of 2,302 kg. and is based on the company’s all‐electric 702SP platform – marking the 53rd Boeing‐built satellite to be launched by Arianespace.

In February 2016, SES and Panasonic Avionics announced two multi-year, High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capacity agreements serving aeronautical, maritime, and oil and gas markets across the Americas.

The contracts, for SES-14 and SES-15, represented their highest bandwidth commitment to date of high-powered HTS spot beam and wide-beam Ku-band capacity.

SES’s HTS coverage will enable airlines to offer Panasonic Avionic’s inflight Wi-Fi and live television services to passengers.

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