On Monday, June 4, SpaceX launched the SES-12 satellite to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Liftoff occurred at 12:45 a.m. EDT, and the satellite was deployed about 32 minutes after liftoff.
SES-12 will join SES-8 at 95 degrees East and serve video, fixed data, mobility and government customers across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. The satellite will replace and augment the services currently being provided on SES’ NSS-6 satellite.
Built by Airbus, the SES-12 satellite is completely electric, and will rely on electric propulsion for orbit raising and subsequent in-orbit manoeuvres. With a liftoff mass of 5,384 kg, the satellite carries six wide beams and 72 high throughput user spot beams, along with a Digital Transparent Processor (DTP), and is one of the largest geostationary satellites the company has ever launched.
Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer at SES said, “More content. More immersive viewing experience. Blazing internet speeds. Reliable cell coverage. All of these dynamic customer requirements can now be met with the successful launch of SES-12, which will provide incremental high performance capacity and offer greater reliability and flexibility to our customers.”
SES-12 will join SES’ network of seven geostationary satellites and 16 MEO satellites across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Currently, SES more than 50 satellites in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and 16 in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO).
On the same day of the launch, SES also announced that it has signed a single-award Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) low-latency High Throughput Satellite (HTS) services. The contract is worth a maximum of US$516.7 million over a five-year period from 1 May 2018 through 30 April 2023.