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Satnews Daily
October 9th, 2018

Forrester Reports: SES Wants Bids for an Open Satellite Design

Chris Forrester.

Journalist Chris Forrester of Advanced TV, and a Senior Contributor to Satnews Publishers, is reporting that SES is looking to order a series of satellites with a revolutionary design — the new concept sees a ‘one size fits all’ concept where the firm's next-generation of satellites could be placed into MEO as well GEO orbits.

According to reports, SES is inviting Airbus, Boeing and Thales Alenia to bid for the design and build contracts for the new craft. This flexibility comes about because satellites are, these days, fully digitized and able to be configured for almost any position around the globe and can equally be set-up for either MEO or GEO roles almost at the last minute prior to launch.

At a briefing at the recent Euroconsult organized World Satellite Business Week in Paris, and reported by specialist publication Space Intel Report, journalists were told by SES CEO Steve Collar and CTO Martin Halliwell that SES was not supporting the concept of ‘in-orbit’ refueling of satellites. Instead, SES was backing this new design model where the satellites would be all-electric craft with lifetimes of 13 to 16 years and a launch mass of 2500 to 2900 kgs., and thus smaller than would usually be the case.

SES is also backing a new, lower-cost manufacturing pattern, where satellites would roll down the production line just as aircraft are today. In seeking to have an ‘open’ standard, the end result could be purchased from manufacturers such as Eutelsat, Intelsat or any of SES’ normal rivals. The clear advantage to all the satellite operators is a lower manufacturing cost, and speedier production.