AIX: SES sees a future with smarter MEO/GEO satellites

Aditya Chattergee, Senior Vice President, Aero Market Segment Solutions, SES.
Aditya Chattergee, Senior Vice President, Aero Market Segment Solutions, SES.

Satellite operator SES has a vision of a market in which providers and airlines can focus on delivering inflight services.

The passenger will be seamlessly connected to the same secure entertainment and communications services in the air as they use on the ground.

By 2022 it wants to develop a Ka-band solution using a mixture of MEO and GEO satellites.

Aditya Chatterjee, Senior Vice President, Aero Market Segment Solutions, SES, said: “You don’t have to choose between Ku- and Ka-band nowadays – SES offers both.”

“The existing world uses geostationary satellites (GEO), the new world is looking at the low earth orbiting (LEO) satellites, but we are introducing band-agnostic medium orbit satellites (MEO) and GEO aero services.

“We believe that satellite operators can provide capacity much more effectively given the chance to sell network services.”

To meet the soaring demand for more bandwidth per plane, it is intensely involved in the development of new technologies.

It supports the development of a new breed of electric, software-defined satellites that can be built in far less time and deliver far more programmable flexibility in space to meet IFC demands for decades to come.

SES has contracted its first O3b mPOWER technology partner, Boeing Satellite Systems, to build seven super-powered medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites.

The constellation will have 30,000 fully-shapeable and steerable beams that can be shifted and switched in real time to align with customers’ quickly changing needs, making it the most bandwidth-efficient system ever.

O3b mPOWER will provide unrivalled coverage to an area of nearly 400 million square kilometres – four fifths of the Earth’s surface.

It launched four more O3b satellite on the last day of the show. The O3b constellation delivers fibre-equivalent performance enabling the delivery of high-performance data across the globe.

“In 2021 we will have mPower, which will offer digital beam forming,” Chatterjee said. “These satellites can offer up to 5,000 spot beams and can generate a new one instantly to, say, follow an aircraft.

“They will also offer software-defined resource management (SDRM), which can decide what resources are needed over a region and automatically generate the beams accordingly.

“This digital beamforming is now becoming a norm for SES satellites,” he said.

SES-17, which is being built for Thales, will feature digital beam forming when it is operational in 2021.

This new Ka-band GEO/MEO approach will let IFC service providers concentrate on what they do best, leaving SES to supply the network services.

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