SES caters to government satcoms demands

CHIRP hosted payload before it was placed on SES-2

Superior satellite communications are essential for governments worldwide. Not only is reliable connectivity essential for supporting operations between the headquarters to the theatre of operations, government agencies also have the moral obligation to serve deployed troops with personal communications capabilities to ensure they stay connected back home.

And it doesn’t stop there. Over the last few years, the withdrawal of international troops from regions such as the Middle East has seen a rise in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Government market demand for satcoms has increased threefold in the past 10 years, with an unprecedented rise of 49% between 2009 and 2010. The total government expenditure on satcoms programmes in 2010 was US$8.4 billion.  

The continued escalating demands for military satellite communications means that government agencies are looking at commercial satellite operators to gain quicker access to space. Having analysed this upward satcom trend, we initiated the largest commercial fleet investment programme in 2010 to launch 13 new satellites by the end of 2014.

Five SES satellites have already been launched in 2011. One of them, SES-2, carried a hosted payload for the US Air Force’s CHIRP (Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload) programme. The CHIRP programme tests a new type of infrared sensor from geosynchronous altitude and demonstrates how the US government can improve the process of testing space-based technologies.

A hosted payload is a module attached to the satellite with communication circuitry that operates independently of the main spacecraft, but which shares the satellite’s power supply and transponders.  This enables government agencies to gain satellite communications capability without the burden of building and launching their own satellite. We also have two hosted payload service contracts with the European Commission for EGNOS.

Other SES offerings include shared satellites and satellite programmes where we hope to provide end-to-end solutions to government agencies, making their satellite experience a hassle-free one.  

Hear our vice president & general manager from SES Government & Institutions, Philippe Glaesener, and president and CEO of SES Government Solutions, Tip Osterthaler, talk about hosted payloads and further projects on SatTV.