Powerful satellite to beam ‘game-changing’ connectivity to PH
VIDEO from SpaceX
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – SES 12, one of the largest and most powerful electric satellites ever produced, was launched into space early Monday morning (Monday afternoon in Manila) to boost connectivity in the Philippines and other countries across the Asia Pacific.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the SES 12 communications satellite for the Luxembourg-based SES, the second largest satellite operator in the world. It blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 40.
SES provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators, businesses and governments.
John Paul Hemingway, the chief executive officer at SES Networks, told a pre-launch press briefing at Port Canaveral’s Exploration Tower that around 1 billion people in the Asia Pacific market still don’t have access to 3G/4G coverage.
SES 12 is poised to help bridge this digital divide, Hemingway said.
The satellite’s state-of-the-art wide and spot beams will enable crystal-clear cell service and faster mobile broadband “in places that can’t be readily connected by fiber (optic lines)” in the Asia Pacific region, as well as blazing wifi speeds on airplanes and ocean vessels.
“It’s simply staggering…It’s game-changing,” Hemingway said.
Hemingway told the Inquirer that in the Philippines, PLDT will tap on SES’s connectivity to extend cellular coverage to rural and underconnected areas across the archipelago.
SES also works with leading direct-to-home operators in the Philippines to meet the growing demand for high-quality television programming, including SkyCable, MediaScape/Cignal Digital TV and GSAT.
It supports SkyCable’s expansion with satellite capacity to broadcast content to 251 cities and municipalities, including those in remote islands and rural areas.
SES enables MediaScape to offer 32 High Definition (HD) and 89 Standard Definition (SD) channels to more than 1.8 million subscribers through Cignal Digital TV, its direct-to-home satellite television service provider.
With the support of SES, GSAT offers 17 HD and 86 SD channels to more than half a million subscribers.
High-speed internet in the sky, at sea
SES 12 is SES’s answer to soaring connectivity demand in the aviation industry, especially across the Asia Pacific, where the number of connected aircraft will increase from more than 1,000 in 2017 to more than 5,500 by 2026.
Passengers flying through Manila will climb from 42 million to 140 million by 2035, Hemingway said.
SES works with Gogo Inflight, Panasonic, Global Eagle Entertainment and Thales LiveTV in providing internet services to airlines.
High-throughput satellites such as SES 12 are also anticipated to be a driving force behind the steady roll-out of connected vessels and cruise liners over the next decade, according to Hemingway.
The total number of the maritime in-service terminal in Asia will more than double from 73,000 in 2017 to more than 175,000 by 2026, he said.
Disaster response, surveillance
Hemingway said governments can use SES 12’s connectivity for disaster response and recovery, border security and military surveillance, and securing government networks.
SES 12 will also enable enhanced delivery of vital e-health services in remote areas through SATMED, a satellite-based e-health platform. SATMED was launched in Central Mindanao in 2016.
Built by Airbus Defence and Space, SES 12 will join five other geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellites – NSS-6, SES-7, SES-9, NSS-9 and NSS-12 – and its constellation of 16 medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites to provide coverage across the vast Philippine archipelago.
It was designed to operate 15 years in geostationary orbit and will use electric propulsion to bring it to its orbit at 35,406 kilometers above the equator.