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Top Facts for Space Enthusiasts

Are you a space enthusiast? Here are more SES-17 facts for you!


SES-17 is the most advanced and largest GEO satellite ever procured by SES and ever built by Thales Alenia Space (TAS). It will weigh over six metric tons at launch, with a payload power of 17kW at the beginning of its 15-year design life.

It will be the first GEO satellite to use ARC, an industry-first software system for automated allocation and optimisation of capacity. ARC leverages the full flexibility of totally digital payloads, autonomously adapting space and ground resources on the fly to meet customer needs.


It will have nearly 200 user beams connected up to its 16 gateways. These beams can be connected to any other beam at any time. This combined with the ability to dynamically change the power and frequency allocation of any beam means that SES-17 can adapt to changing customer needs in real-time.

In the event of rain fade at one of 16 SES-17 gateways, ARC will and can move traffic to another gateway to ensure that Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are met.


When launched it will have the most advanced Digital Transparent Processor (DTP) of any orbiting satellite. It will keep that distinction until the launch of O3b mPOWER. The DTP will have a dedicated Telemetry and Telecommand (TM/TC) link; and this link is more than 1,000 times faster than the TM/TC links for other GEO satellites in our fleet.

The DTP combined with flex Traveling Wave Tubes (TWTs) enables SES-17 to form practically unlimited number of communication routes.


SES-17 is the first commercial satellite to incorporate a high efficiency Mechanically Pumped Loop (MPL) thermal control. This innovative way of conducting heat out of the spacecraft is the result of 20 years research by TAS and the European Space Agency (ESA). To put it simply, the process is quite close to what happens in a fridge!

The Thales Alenia Space TVAC chamber is one of the largest Vacuum chambers in Europe. But that wasn’t enough for our spacecraft. To make the testing possible and have the Earth deck radiative extensions of SES-17 fit in, the TAS team had to make some adjustments and eventually carve out the door of the chamber!


The solar arrays are the largest and most powerful arrays ever manufactured by TAS. SES-17 will be the first satellite to fly the large version of these panels. With both solar wings deployed, SES-17 will have a wingspan of 48 meters – that’s taller than the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro!

SES-17 is a satellite of constant innovation. Many satellite units were not even designed when the satellite was first procured in 2016. Talk about being ahead of its time!