Arianespace has orbited the SES-15 satellite. SES-15 is a telecommunications satellite intended for SES SA of Luxembourg. Liftoff took place on May 18, 2017 at 8:54 a.m. local time (11:54 a.m. UTC; 7:54 a.m. EDT) from the Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Built by Boeing based on its 702SP platform and positioned at 129 degrees West, SES-15 will offer coverage over North America, Mexico and Central America, stretching from Arctic Alaska to the South of Panama and from Hawaii to the Caribbean. The all-electric propulsion satellite will provide Ku-band wide beams and Ku-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capability, with connectivity to gateways in Ka-band. SES-15 will serve the aeronautical sector and will enable other traffic intensive data applications to government users, VSAT network operators. The satellite will also serve maritime markets, particularly cruise ships in the Caribbean.

The satellite also carries 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 mission was the fifth of the year for Arianespace, and the second by Soyuz from CSG to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Launches from Kourou had been delayed for about a month during major strikes in French Guiana. With strikes resolved, launches have resumed. The flight, designated VS17 by Arianespace, also marks the second launch to geostationary transfer orbit by Soyuz in 2017, following the VS16 launch for Hispasat in January.

Equipped with 16 Ku-band transponders and a Ka-band HTS payload, as well as a hosted payload, the use of electric propulsion means the satellite had a launch mass of only 2,302 kilograms. The lighter launch mass of satellites with all-electric propulsion allows them to be carried into orbit by launch vehicles like the Soyuz, which are smaller than the Ariane 5, and therefore offer a lower price tag for customers.

Banner Image Source: Boeing

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