Mission typeCommunications
COSPAR ID2021-095A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.49332
Mission duration15 years (planned)
11 months, 29 days (in progress)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeSpacebus
BusSpaceBusNEO 200
ManufacturerThales Alenia Space
Launch mass6,411 kg (14,134 lb)
Dry mass5,060 kg (11,160 lb)
Power15 kW
Start of mission
Launch date24 October 2021, 02:10 UTC[1]
RocketAriane 5ECA (VA255)
Launch siteCentre Spatial Guyanais,
Kourou, ELA-3
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeGeostationary orbit
Longitude67.1° West
Band~200 Ka-band spot beams
Coverage areaNorth America, South America, Caribbean, Atlantic Ocean
← SES-16
SES-18 →

SES-17, is a high throughput all electric geostationary communications satellite owned and operated by SES S.A., and designed and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space. Launched on 24 October 2021 from Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG), in Kourou, French Guiana by an Ariane 5ECA launch vehicle, SES-17 was positioned at 67.1° west in May 2022 and, after testing, became fully operational in June 2022.[2]

The satellite operates in conjunction with SES's other geostationary satellites and SES's medium Earth orbit O3b and forthcoming O3b mPOWER satellites to provide connectivity services across North America, South America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean.[3][4][1]

Satellite description

SES-17 is based on the three axis stabilised SpaceBusNEO 200 satellite bus. It has a mass of 6,411 kg (14,134 lb), produces 15 kW of power and has a design life of 15 years.[5][3] Like all SpaceBusNEO, SES-17 uses electric propulsion exclusively for both orbit raising and station keeping and was launched on an Arianespace Ariane 5ECA launch vehicle pn 24 October 2021.[4][6][7][1]

The satellite will provide almost 200 Ka-band spot beams of mixed sizes for coverage over North America, South America, Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean mainly for aircraft connectivity.[8]

SES-17 is SES's first geostationary Ka-band high-throughput satellite, and the first one to include a fully digital payload, using Thales' Spaceflex VHTS Processor, a Digital Transparent Processor (DTP) developed with support from the French space agency, Centre National d'Études Spatiales CNES and the European Space Agency (ESA) [9] to provide in-orbit frequency plan flexibility so mobility customers can change their networks in real time in response to changing bandwidth demands, implementing broadcast, multicast or mesh network as required, and improving efficiency in throughput and bandwidth use.[10]

Along with SES's forthcoming medium Earth orbit satellite constellation, O3b mPOWER, SES-17 is managed through the Adaptive Resource Control (ARC) software system developed jointly between SES and Kythera Space Solutions, autonomously optimizing space and ground resources, on-the-fly, in accordance with customers' changing needs.[11]


On 12 September 2016, SES ordered the SES-17 dedicated Ka-band high-throughput satellite from Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy, the main contractor for SES's O3b satellites.[6] Offering mobility connectivity services over the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, SES-17 was expected to launch in 2020 with the FlytLIVE airline passenger connectivity service from Thales Avionics as its anchor customer. Prior to the launch of SES-17, FlytLIVE would use capacity contracted by SES on Hughes's EchoStar XVII and EchoStar XIX satellites, along with SES's own AMC-15 and AMC-16 satellites.[3][12] The cost of the satellite and launch, and the network of gateways on the ground is expected to be around US$500 million.[6]

In September 2017, SES announced that Arianespace had been selected to launch SES-17 in 2021.[4]

In September 2019, SES announced it had partnered with satellite payload and network management systems developer, Kythera Space Solutions to develop the ARC (Adaptive Resource Control) software to enable the dynamic control and optimisation of power, throughput, beams and frequency allocation on SES-17 and other future high-throughput satellites and their networks.[13]

SES's 2020 Annual Report, released in March 2021, said that SES-17 was expected to launch in July 2021.[7] In April 2021, Arianespace projected a launch in August 2021,[14] then, in September 2021 a launch on 22 October 2021.[1] After a small delay caused by technical issues with the launch pad, the launch was successfully carried out on 24 October 2021 at 02:10 UTC.[15]

SES-17 reached its intended orbital position at 67.1° west in May 2022[16] and, after testing, became fully operational in June 2022.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. 10 September 2021. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b SES-17 Ka-Band Satellite is Now Operational Via Satellite. 16 June 2022. Accessed 25 August 2022
  3. ^ a b c "SES orders high throughput satellite from Thales with first secured anchor customer for inflight connectivity". SES S.A. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "SES selects Arianespace for launch of SES-17". Arianespace. 12 September 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  5. ^ "SES 17". Gunter's Space Page. 10 January 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "SES enters Ka-band airline connectivity market with Thales Avionics as customer". SpaceNews. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Annual Report 2020" (PDF). SES. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  8. ^ "Thales and SES deliver the most efficient Ka-HTS aviation connectivity solution over the Americas". Thales Alenia Space. 12 September 2016. Archived from the original on 14 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  10. ^ SES AND THALES UNVEIL NEXT-GENERATION CAPABILITIES ONBOARD SES-17 Thales 4 April 2017 Accessed 25 February 2021
  11. ^ SES' Satellites' Agility Achieved With ARC and Kythera Space Solutions SatNews, 24 November 2020, Accessed 31 March 2021
  12. ^ Our Connectivity Solutions - FlytLIVE Thales Accessed 25 February 2021
  13. ^ "SES to Enhance and Expand O3b mPOWER System Capabilities with Dynamic Software Innovation" (Press release). SES. 5 September 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. 12 April 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Operated by Arianespace for the benefit of SES and the French Ministry of the Armed Forces; Ariane 5 VA255 flight is the highest performing ever launched to geostationary transfer orbit" (Press release). Arianespace. 24 October 2021. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  16. ^ "SES Q1 2022 Results" (PDF). SES S.A. 5 May 2022. p. 3. Retrieved 25 May 2022.