SES Partners with ESA to Develop Innovative Satellite Platform Electra
SES formed a public-private partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development of an innovative full-electric propulsion satellite platform.
Corresponding contracts were signed today at SES’ headquarters in Luxembourg in the presence of ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, the Luxembourg Minister for Higher Education and Research, Martine Hansen, and the Minister for Communications and Media, Luc Frieden.
The public-private partnership between SES and ESA is part of a program called ELECTRA which aims at developing an innovative small and medium sized, fully electric platform, manufactured in Europe. SES is the prime contractor to ESA for the first phase of the programme and is working with OHB System AG of Bremen as a subcontractor for the corresponding manufacturing design of the platform. ELECTRA is one of the main European Space activities to which the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has subscribed to at the ESA Ministerial Conference in Naples in 2012.
The ELECTRA project aims to develop an innovative geostationary satellite platform that utilises electric propulsion instead of conventional chemical propulsion for the transfer into the geostationary orbit as well as on orbit station keeping. The satellite platform can thus take advantage of smaller launch vehicles or dual launch capabilities, while carrying payload capabilities equivalent to current mid-sized satellites in terms of power consumption and number of active transponders.
“ELECTRA shows the commitment of SES to support and drive innovation in the space segment and satellite technology”, said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “With ESA as an institutional partner and OHB as a technological partner, we forge a strong combination to create a new and commercially competitive satellite platform in Europe. For SES, being able to rely on all-electric satellites, in combination with innovative launch services, is becoming of primary strategic importance in order to control the intensive capital investments which are required to sustain our core business development. All-electric satellites are therefore part of the key Innovation roadmap identified by SES.”
Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General, attending the signing of the contract at SES in Luxembourg, noted: “Electra represents three partnerships in one: between SES and OHB, to develop the best solution for SES and the future needs of other satellite operators; between SES and ESA, to offer the best possible validation in orbit of a new technology; and between ESA and DLR to capitalise on previous investments. These three partnerships is the best way to optimise the use of public and private funds for enhancing the competitiveness of the European sector.”
SES-8 Arrives at Cape Canaveral for SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch
The SES-8 satellite has arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral (Florida). The satellite will now be processed for a November launch on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster.
SES-8 has been manufactured by Orbital Sciences Corporation. The satellite features up to 33 Ku-band transponders (36 MHz equivalent). SES-8 will be co-located with NSS-6 at the orbital location of 95 degrees East to provide growth capacity over Asia-Pacific. The spacecraft’s high performance beams will support the rapidly growing markets in South Asia and Indo-China, as well as provide expansion capacity for DTH, VSAT and government applications.
Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer of SES, stated: “SES looks forward to the maiden launch of an SES satellite on board the Falcon 9 rocket operated by SpaceX. When co-located with NSS-6 at 95 degrees East, SES-8 will not only provide incremental high performance capacity for multiple applications, it will also create greater reliability and additional security for customers. As such, the SES-8 satellite is an integral part of SES’ growing presence in Asia-Pacific.”