Asian shipping will get a broadband communications boost in the Year of the Dog when the world’s most powerful satellite is commissioned. Airbus Defence and Space has built and tested the SES-12 satellite, which was designed to expand Asian maritime broadband capabilities.
SES-12 is a new high throughput (HTS) satellite with electric power of up to 19 kW and 76 active transponders. It will be launched into a geostationary orbit location of 95˚ east to provide Ku-band wide beams and HTS spot beams in the Asia Pacific region. These will deliver fast broadband for shipping, cruise and offshore vessels in the Indian Ocean, South China and East China Seas.
This satellite is based on Airbus’ Eurostar E3000 platform with electric propulsion that enabled Airbus to include a higher dual payload, said Airbus SES satellite programme manager Eric Rouchouse.
SES-12 was having its final radio frequency tests when Marine Electronics & Communications visited Airbus’s Toulouse assembly plant on 13 February. Mr Rouchouse said that once these tests were completed, the satellite would be loaded into a specialised container, driven to Toulouse airport and loaded on a Russian heavy-lift aircraft for transportation to the launch site in Florida, USA. Both Airbus and SES expect the satellite will be launched by SpaceX on a Falcon 9 rocket in March this year.
SES-12 will provide Ku-band spot beams to shipping on around 20 of its 72 HTS Ku-band spot beam transponders, said SES manager for spacecraft programmes Elodie Viau. It will replace ageing satellite NSS-6 and boost coverage in Asia-Pacific by co-locating it with existing SES-8, she explained.