17 July 2014 – Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, has just been awarded a contract by SES, one of the world’s leading satellite operators, to design and build a highly innovative high-performance telecommunications satellite.
SES-12 is the most powerful satellite ever to have been ordered by SES. It will be based on the highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform from Airbus Defence and Space as an all new EOR (Electric Orbit Raising) version. This version uses only electric propulsion for initial orbit raising, with the reduction in mass enabling the satellite to be equipped with an exceptionally large payload.
The satellite also incorporates other state-of-the-art solutions, in particular multi-beam antennas linked to a digital signal processor that enables a multitude of basic spectral channels to be allocated to various beams in a completely flexible manner.
“I salute SES’s ambitions when it comes to innovation and responsiveness in a rapidly changing market, and we are pleased to be able to provide them with our very best technology for both the payload and the platform,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “We have been using electric propulsion for station-keeping for 10 years now and have equipped 10 Eurostar E3000 satellites with this technology, which we are now also offering for initial orbit raising. The resulting weight saving will enable us to combine two high-capacity missions equivalent to two conventional satellites in one satellite, SES-12.
“SES-12 is the 11th Eurostar satellite to have been ordered by SES from Airbus Defence and Space,” added Karim Michel Sabbagh, President and CEO of SES. “Eight of these satellites are in operational service, one is ready to be launched, and a 10th, ordered this year, is currently under construction.”
The satellite will have a dual mission. It will replace the NSS-6 satellite in orbit, providing television broadcasting and telecom infrastructure services from one end of Asia to the other, with beams adapted to six areas of coverage. It will also have a flexible multi-beam processed payload for providing broadband services covering a large expanse from Africa to Russia, Japan and Australia.
SES-12 will operate in the Ku and Ka bands with a total of 76 active transponders, and will be equipped with eight antennas. It will have a launch weight of 5,300 kg and an electric power of 19 kW. The satellite will be launched in 2017, and its electric propulsion system will enable it to reach its geostationary orbit in three to six months, depending on the type of launcher used. Its nominal operational position will be 95° E and it has been designed to remain in service in orbit for more than 15 years.