As the world’s leading aircraft companies improve and expand, they move to new heights. This includes the use of 3-D printed parts for aircraft and satellites that will bolster connectivity in flight and enable a range of traffic-intensive data applications.
Launched mid-May 2017 Boeing’s NYSE: BA SES-15 satellite is set to improve in-flight connectivity and air traffic control. Even though it was produced for the European mobile network operator and communications satellite owner SES S.A., the impressive 702-model geostationary satellite is set to strengthen wi-fi connectivity in flight and enhance the quality of in-flight entertainment services not in European but in North and Central American airspace.
According to Boeing, it will also serve government, maritime, and enterprise sectors.
Importantly, it will also help improve the safety endeavors of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) using their Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) because SES offers hosted payload opportunities that the US Government utilizes. The WAAS network augments GPS and plays a vital role in terms of ensuring precision when it comes to routing and piloting aircraft, which is how it will be used to improve air traffic control.
This is the multinational Boeing Company’s fifth satellite that has all-electric propulsion. It is the 12th Boeing satellite ordered by SES.
The design incorporates 3-D printed metallic parts that make it more affordable and also improve the production process. According to Mark Spiwak, Boeing Satellite Systems International president, it was primarily because of the inclusion of 3-D printed hardware in the new satellite that it was delivered to SES ahead of schedule.
The SES-15 satellite is solar powered and it is said to have a lifetime of 15 years.
The first geostationary satellite launched onboard a Soyuz rocket, the SES-15 was propelled into space from the space center in Kourou, French Guiana on May 18. It is now located at 129 degrees west and it has the capability to serve central and north America (including Alaska and Canada) as well as Mexico and the Caribbean.
The successful launch of this hybrid satellite is the first of three scheduled by SES, all of which will have wide beams and high throughput capabilities.
SES-15 boasts a hybrid payload that has connectivity to gateways in Ka-band. It includes Ku-band wide beam coverage and Ku-band high throughput satellite (HTS) capability. In addition to its HTS capabilities, it is equipped with 36 MHz equivalent 16 Ku-band transponders.
Although not widely utilized worldwide, hosted payloads provide the US Department of Defense and the federal US Government access to space in a highly efficient and effective manner. The FAA has been using hosted payloads for about 20 years.
The satellite’s high throughput payload now delivers flexible and optimized covered for inflight connectivity and entertainment (IFC/IFE) for a number of global service providers including Panasonic Avionics, Gogo, and Global Eagle Entertainment. The wide beam lets providers deliver live television content on all their flight routes across the US.
While passengers are being entertained, the FAA will continue to use its WAAS-hosted payload to improve accuracy, integrity, and availability for the US aviation industry.
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