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SES-17 On Way to Final Orbit After Successful Launch 

By Rachel Jewett | October 25, 2021

Arianespace launches SES-17 on Oct. 24, 2021. Photo: Arianespace/SES

The newest SES satellite SES-17 is on the way to its final placement in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) after a successful launch by Arianespace over the weekend. 

Arianespace launched SES-17 on Sunday, Oct. 24 on an Ariane 5 rocket from the Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 11:10 pm local time. The satellite will reach its final destination at the 67.1 degrees West orbital slot by mid-2022. 

Built by Thales Alenia Space, SES-17 is the largest SES satellite. The Very High Throughput Satellite (VHTS)  is the first Ka-band GEO satellite to embark with a fully digital payload. It has nearly 200 user beams which can be adjusted for power and frequency to respond to customer needs in real time. 

The satellite will cover the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean and serve customers in aeronautical, maritime, enterprise, and government markets.

“SES-17 is the largest satellite we’ve ever built, and that was for a reason. We want to serve the aviation market in North America,” SES CEO Steve Collar said in a media event before the satellite launch. “It’s the most demanding and vibrant of all of the aviation markets. Aviation is a market that’s generating very significant growth. As we look at the trends coming out of the pandemic, it’s one of the most exciting markets in satellite today.” 

Collar said technology improvements over the last few years have made a satellite like SES-17 economically feasible, with the amount of capability and flexibility it offers. He said this design will allow SES to work with aviation connectivity needs, meeting high demand around airports and flexing connectivity for airline routes. 

Thales InFlyt Experience is an anchor customer on the satellite and will offer the connectivity through the solution FlytLIVE. 

“The network and satellite architecture was specifically developed for the unique connectivity requirements of our commercial aviation customers and their passengers,” Craig Olson, vice president at Thales InFlyt Experience, said in the release. “With SES-17, FlytLIVE will provide full coverage for the entire Americas and North Atlantic Corridor delivering an unmatched connectivity experience in the air.”