SES selects Boeing to build seven medium earth orbit satellites


Luxembourg-based operator SES has awarded a contract to Boeing to design and build seven super-powered medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites.

The satellites will be part of SES’ O3b mPOWER platform, which will provide high-performance network communications to users worldwide.

Boeing will deploy its most-advanced digital payload technology to build the satellites.

The company will also use customised electronics from its 702 satellite platform to support the MEO environment of the spacecraft.

“The SES O3b mPOWER system opens a new era of connectivity, fundamentally transforming the role and capabilities of satellites."

Boeing Satellite Systems International chairman and CEO Paul Rusnock said: “With this new technology and design, Boeing is able to build satellites faster and more cost-effectively while still providing the high-performance our customers have come to expect from Boeing digital satellites.

“This latest digital payload design has an unprecedented level of technology integration, built-in test capability, and is modular and scalable for all orbits.”

The proposed satellites will be designed to be launched up to four units at a time in a stacked configuration, depending upon the selection of launch vehicle.

Boeing has so far built 12 satellites for SES, with the SES-15 being the latest one launched earlier this year.

SES president and CEO Karim Sabbagh said: “The SES O3b mPOWER system opens a new era of connectivity, fundamentally transforming the role and capabilities of satellites.

“O3b mPOWER is a unique system with exponentially more power, performance and flexibility, which sets the technology at the highest level, offering a visionary road map for next-generation technology.”

Set to be launched by 2021, the O3b mPOWER system is capable of providing multiple terabits of throughput worldwide.

In a separate development, Boeing has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Malaysia Airlines for the sale of 16 aircraft.

Under the MoU, Malaysia Airlines seeks to convert an existing order comprising Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to eight 787-9 Dreamliners, as well as add eight purchase rights over 737 MAX 8 planes.