The commercial communications satellite operator SES has ordered its latest communications satellite SES 10 from the spacecraft manufacturer, Airbus Defence and Space (formerly known as Astrium). The construction order was made via SES Satellite Leasing, the leasing division of the firm. The spacecraft will use a version of the Eurostar E3000 bus platform. SES-10 will be launched on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy launch vehicle under a previously agreed reservation with SpaceX (Space Exploration Techologies).
The 5,300kg spacecraft is designed to operate for 15 years in geosynchronous orbit, utilizing an electric plasma propulsion system for on-orbit manoeuvres and a chemical system for initial orbit raising and some on-orbit manoeuvres.
The spacecraft will serve Latin America and the Caribbean from its 67 degree West position on the Geostationary Earth Orbit arc from where it will provide direct-to-home (DTH) television and broadband services. The spacecraft carries a communications payload of 50 Ku-band transponders. One of the communications beams on SES-10 has been allocated to Andean Community Member States for its Simon Bolivar 2 service.
Comment by David Todd: The big story here is the declaration that SES-10 will be launched on a Falcon 9 Heavy. The two largest commercial satellite operators, SES and Intelsat have now made reservations on the Falcon 9 Heavy. It is bad news for the other launch providers such as Arianespace (with its Ariane 5) or ILS (with its Proton). While the smaller Falcon 9 V1.1 launch vehicle is attacking the smaller of the spacecraft GTO launch market, the Falcon 9 Heavy is making inroads into the heavier commercial satellite launch sector. Worse is that the Falcon 9 Heavy can carry more than twice the payload of an Ariane 5. One can envisage triple or even quadruple large communications spacecraft launches on such a vehicle – although getting insurance for such a launch will be very difficult. Space insurers are loath to put all their insured eggs in one basket.