Mission typeCommunications
Mission duration15 years (planned)
0 days (elapsed)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeSpacebus
BusSpacebus NEO
ManufacturerThales Alenia Space
Launch mass6,000 kg (13,000 lb)
Dry mass5,060 kg (11,160 lb)
Power15 kW
Start of mission
Launch dateAugust 2021 (planned) [1]
RocketAriane 5 ECA (VA255)
Launch siteCentre Spatial Guyanais,
Kourou, ELA-3
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeGeostationary orbit
Longitude67° West
Band~200 Ka-band
Coverage areaNorth America, South America, Caribbean, Mexico, Atlantic Ocean region
← SES-16
SES-18 →

SES-17, is a high throughput all electric geostationary communications satellite currently under construction and testing for launch in August 2021. Owned and operated by SES S.A., and designed and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space, SES-17 will operate in conjunction with SES's other geostationary satellites and SES's medium Earth orbit O3b MEO and O3b mPOWER satellites to provide connectivity services across the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean region.[2][3]

Satellite description

SES-17 is based on the three axis stabilised Spacebus NEO satellite bus. It has a mass of more than 6,000 kg (13,000 lb), produces 15 kW of power and has a design life of 15 years.[4][2] Like all Spacebus NEO, SES-17 will use electric propulsion exclusively for both orbit raising and station keeping and is expected to be launched on an Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle in August 2021.[3][5][6]

The satellite will provide almost 200 Ka-band spot-beams of mixed sizes for coverage over North America, South America, Caribbean, Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean mainly for aircraft connectivity.[7]

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, CNES and the European Space Agency (ESA) [8] 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.[9]

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.[10]


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 MEO satellites.[5] 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.[2][11] The cost of the satellite and launch, and the network of gateways on the ground is expected to be around US$500 million.[5]

In September 2017, SES announced that Arianespace had been selected to launch SES-17 in 2021.[3]

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.[12]

SES's 2020 Annual Report, released in March 2021, says that SES-17 is expected to launch in Q3 2021 [6] while, as of April 2021, Arianespace projects a launch in August 2021.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Launch Schedule". 12 April 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ a b c "SES selects Arianespace for launch of SES-17". Arianespace. 12 September 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  4. ^ "SES 17". Gunter's Space Page. 10 January 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "SES enters Ka-band airline connectivity market with Thales Avionics as customer". SpaceNews. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Annual Report 2020" (PDF). SES. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  7. ^ "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.
  9. ^ SES AND THALES UNVEIL NEXT-GENERATION CAPABILITIES ONBOARD SES-17 Thales 4 April 2017 Accessed 25 February 2021
  10. ^ SES' Satellites' Agility Achieved With ARC and Kythera Space Solutions SatNews, 24 November 2020, Accessed 31 March 2021
  11. ^ Our Connectivity Solutions - FlytLIVE Thales Accessed 25 February 2021
  12. ^ "SES to Enhance and Expand O3b mPOWER System Capabilities with Dynamic Software Innovation" (Press release). SES. 5 September 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2021.