Authorization has been given for tomorrow’s Arianespace Soyuz launch from French Guiana, providing the “all clear” for this medium-lift mission that will orbit a telecommunications satellite for European-based operator SES.
The approval was granted today after the regular pre-launch review for Arianespace flights – which confirmed the readiness of Russia's Soyuz ST-B rocket and its SES-15 satellite passenger, the launch site and associated infrastructure at the Spaceport, as well as the network of downrange tracking stations.
The May 18 mission – designated VS17 in Arianespace’s numbering system – will be performed from the purpose-built ELS launch facility for Soyuz. Liftoff is scheduled at precisely 8:54:53 a.m. local time in French Guiana, with SES-15 to be deployed during a flight lasting approximately 5 hrs., 18 min.
SES-15 is a Boeing-built satellite that has an estimated liftoff mass of 2,302 k.g., based on an all-electric 702SP platform and will be operated from a new orbital position of 129 degrees West, with the satellite offering extensive coverage over North America, Mexico and Central America—stretching from Arctic Alaska to the South of Panama, and from Hawaii to the Caribbean. SES-15 will enable SES to serve its leading aeronautical customers and serve other traffic-intensive data applications such as government, VSAT networks and maritime, with a combination of wide beams and HTS (High Throughput Satellite) multi-spot beams.
SES-15, its first hybrid satellite, will offer a mix of widebeam coverage and high throughput (HTS) capacity. The satellite will provide additional Ku-band wide beams and Ku-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capability, with connectivity to gateways in Ka-band. SES-15 will serve the thriving aeronautical sector and will enable other traffic-intensive data applications such as government, VSAT networks and maritime.
The satellite will carry a Wide Area Augmentation System-hosted (WAAS) payload, that will enable the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to augment the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) with the goal of improving accuracy, integrity and availability for the aviation industry.
Designated Flight VS17 in Arianespace’s numbering system, SES-15 will be the 40th spacecraft orbited by Arianespace for SES, and its launch marks this long-time customer’s first use of Soyuz from French Guiana. The satellite has an estimated lifespan of 15 years.
This is the first of three SES hybrid satellite to be launched and is equipped with 16 Ku-band transponders (36MHz equivalent) as well as a 10 GHz high throughput payload. The satellite will also carry the Wide Area Augmentation Systems (WAAS), a US government-funded hosted payload to augment the Global Positioning Systems (GPS).
This mission is the second mission to geostationary transfer orbit performed by Soyuz from the Guiana. The first was conducted earlier this year, with the Hispasat 36W-1 satellite successfully deployed on January 27.