SES announced on March 23, 2022, that it had ordered SES-26, a fully software-defined geostationary (GEO) satellite from Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %). SES-26 will maintain and expand the wide range of content delivery and connectivity services to broadcasters, media companies, telecommunication operators, internet service providers and governmental organisations across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific.
The digital satellite with both Ku-band and C-band frequencies will replace SES’s NSS-12 satellite at 57 degrees East, one of SES’s longest-held and most valuable orbital positions. From this key location at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, SES will continue to deliver content and connectivity solutions to some of the world’s fastest-growing markets.
Facilitating connections from the heart of Europe across Africa and the Middle East, SES-26 will be an essential platform to support government communications solutions in the region and is synergistic with the company’s recently-announced definitive agreement for the acquisition of DRS GES. The position is also home to the Ethiosat platform, a diverse free to air neighbourhood supporting a growing community of 10 million TV households across Ethiopia.
The order forms part of a three-satellite commitment to Thales Alenia Space. Furthermore, it incorporates two satellites that will be deployed at SES’s first and most important orbital location, 19.2 degrees East, from which SES serves 118 million TV households across Europe. Underlining its philosophy of sustainable innovation and its commitment to the European space industry, SES is the first commercial customer for Thales Alenia Space’s Space Inspire (INstant SPace In-orbit REconfiguration), an innovative product line allowing seamless telecommunication mission and services reconfiguration, instant in-orbit adjustment to the demand and outstanding flexibility for video broadcasting and broadband connectivity services.
“For over 20 years, satellites at 57 degrees East have been at the centrepiece of our connectivity network bridging Europe to Africa, the Middle East and Asia. From broadcasting video content across Europe and Africa to delivering connectivity services for aviation, maritime and government, SES-26 underlines our commitment to the growth of our business and our customers,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “We are delighted to work with our long-term partner Thales Alenia Space to push the boundaries of next-generation satellite capabilities and deliver the flexible innovation that enables us to stay ahead of our customers’ evolving needs.”
“We are honoured that SES has renewed its confidence in Thales Alenia Space and our Space Inspire software-defined solution. This new contract follows the recent order to build Astra 1P and Astra 1Q and strengthens the strong partnership between SES and Thales Alenia Space. Once again, I’m happy to share this new success with the French and European space agencies – CNES and ESA – who contributed to making it possible thanks to their support,” said Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space.
The procurement of the satellite remains within SES’s previously announced Capital Expenditure outlook for 2022-2026 and is fully compliant with the company’s financial policy.
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