SES-15, the company's first hybrid satellite offering a mix of widebeam coverage and HTS capacity, lifted off today (May 18.) aboard a Soyuz rocket at 0745 hours, local time, courtesy of Arianespace.
Designated Flight VS17 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, this will be the second-ever mission to geostationary transfer orbit performed by Soyuz from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.
This SES satellite will be positioned at the new orbital location of 129 degrees West — the satellite will offer extensive coverage over North America, Mexico and Central America, stretching from Arctic Alaska to the South of Panama and from Hawaii to the Caribbean. The satellite will also provide additional Ku-band wide beams and Ku-band HTS capability, with connectivity to gateways in Ka-band. SES-15 will serve the aeronautical sector and will enable other traffic intensive data applications, such as are required by government, VSAT networks and the maritime communications market segment.
Services and coverage
SES-15 will serve major global inflight connectivity and entertainment providers who have made significant, long-term pre-commitments for capacity. Thanks to its extensive coverage, SES-15 will be the first satellite to enable airline passengers to access full, seamless HTS coverage from New York all the way to Hawaii — or from Alaska to Mexico. SES-15 is also equipped with a dedicated wide beam that will allow IFEC providers to provide live broadcast of TV content on all flight routes across the entire region. This unique combination of beams enables IFEC providers to optimally utilise HTS capacity for internet traffic and wide beam coverage for broadcasting content.
The satellite will carry a Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) hosted payload that will enable the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to augment the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) with the goal of improving accuracy, integrity and availability for the aviation industry.
The HTS capacity of SES-15 will also help meet the increasing demand for maritime connectivity, as the number of connected ships is expected to grow from over 50,000 in 2015 to approximately 109,000 by 2025 in North America. The satellite will also provide ideal coverage over the Caribbean, where cruise tourism is thriving, accounting for 40 percent of the total cruise ships sailing worldwide.
SES-15 will offer high-speed broadband services for other traffic-intensive data applications such as government and enterprise networks. For example, its HTS capacity will offer optimal coverage to the growing number of enterprise VSAT sites in Central America and the Caribbean, which is expected to increase to 148,000 by 2024 and will namely enable rural connectivity, corporate broadband, and banking.
SES-15 was built by Boeing Satellite Systems International and is designed to operate for 15 years in geostationary orbit. This is an all-electric 702SP satellite and is the 12th satellite in more than 25 years that SES has ordered from Boeing. The satellite includes up to an 8 kW payload and weighs 2.3 tons. The satellite will be equipped with an electric propulsion system for orbit raising and on orbit maneuvers.