PARIS (ESA PR) – A large, data-driven telecommunications satellite that uses innovative technology to stay cool along with other innovations – developed under an ESA partnership project – has started service commercial.
The satellite will provide high-speed connectivity to commercial shipping, aviation, governments and businesses through its operator, SES, while connecting underserved areas and accelerating digital inclusion.
Called SES-17, it launched on October 23, 2021, and spent the next six months cruising in geostationary orbit.
The SES-17 ultra-high throughput belongs to a new generation of data-intensive satellites and, with its new fifth-generation digital transparent processor, is capable of delivering up to ten times more capacity than traditional satellites with flexibility and unparalleled efficiency.
Processing large volumes of data generates heat inside the spacecraft that must be dissipated for the satellite to continue sustainable and reliable operations. The engineering teams of the ESA Neosat partnership project with satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space have developed an innovative thermal cooling system – the two-phase mechanical pumped loop – capable of circulating a refrigerant to remove heat. It is the first of its kind to feature on a major commercial telecommunications satellite.
ESA’s partnership projects help develop end-to-end sustainable systems through to in-orbit validation.
ESA’s Neosat program includes both Spacebus Neo from Thales Alenia Space and Eurostar Neo from Airbus and is jointly managed by ESA and the French space agency CNES. It includes the development to in-orbit validation of new satellite product lines for both companies, enabling the European space industry to provide competitive satellites for the global commercial satellite market.
Some 16 Neosat satellites have now been sold by European companies, and the program is expected to generate more than 20 times the return on investment from its 12 participating states and their space companies, according to independent analysis by Euroconsult.