Earlier today, SES announced that they have awarded a contract to SpaceX to launch two new satellites, the SES-14 and the SES-16/GovSat aboard its Falcon 9 rocket in 2017. The two satellites are to be built by the Defense and Space division of Airbus Group and Orbital ATK. The contract to SpaceX emerged shortly after SES selected Airbus and Orbital ATK to build the satellites. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is a European multinational aerospace and defense corporation that in addition to developing and marketing satellites, manufactures aircraft parts as well as civil airliners.
According to SES chief technology officer Martin Halliwell, they are “looking forward to their future of working with SpaceX. He said, "with SpaceX, we share the mission of innovating the space segment and technology, achieving step changes in the design and economics of launchers, and leveraging them to the advantage of our satellites, their profile, flexibility and performance, and, above all, our customers."
SES-14 is a hybrid satellite to be positioned at 47.5/48 degrees west and will cover the Americas and the North Atlantic region. The satellite will fully rely on electric propulsion and will be equipped with an electric plasma propulsion system for orbit raising and in-orbit maneuvers. SES-16/GovSat has been ordered by LuxGovSat, a new company jointly incorporated by SES and the Luxembourg government, and will be positioned at 21.5 degrees east. It is a multi-mission satellite using dedicated military frequencies to provide high-powered and fully steerable spot beams for multiple government-specific missions. This satellite will cover Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Two industry officials familiar with the launch deal said both satellites are tentatively assigned to lift off from SpaceX’s new launch site at Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville, Texas.
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