The satellite could help broadcast television programs directly to more than 18 Million households in the Asia-Pacific region, along with the SES-8 satellite, launched in 2013 by SpaceX. It will replace and augment the services now being provided on SES's NSS-6 satellite. "Blazing Internet speeds. Reliable cell coverage", declared Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer at SES said.
Because it takes less on-board xenon propellant to achieve the required equatorial orbit, the Falcon 9, by boosting SES-12 into a high super-synchronous transfer orbit, will add more than five years to the satellite's lifetime and shave almost a month off the time needed to reach its operational location.
SES-12 will operate in the Ku and Ka-bands with a total of 76 active transponders and eight antennas.
SES is the world-leading satellite operator and the first to deliver a differentiated and scalable GEO-MEO offering worldwide, with more than 50 satellites in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and 16 in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO).
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SpaceX made no attempt to recover the earlier-generation "block 4" first stage, which was limited to only two flights. Airbus Defence & Space and the satellite will use its on-board electric thrusters to raise itself from its transfer orbit to its final operating slot. It is expected to enter service in late January or early February.
This flight will use Falcon 9 first stage rocket that first launched the US Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle on its fifth mission, last September. SES-12 is designed for an operational life of some 15 years. Its communications payload incorporates state-of-the-art solutions, in particular multi-beam antennas linked to a digital signal processor, which enable a multitude of basic spectral channels to be allocated to various beams in a completely flexible manner.
"We believe there are one billion people in the Asia-Pacific market who still do not have good connectivity to the devices they hold in their hands", said John-Paul Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks.