SES-17, the very high-throughput satellite in geosynchronous orbit, was successfully launched on October 22, 2021 from Arianespace’s Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. Built by Thales Alenia Space, the SES-17 multi-mission Ka-Band satellite will provide comprehensive coverage across the Americas, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. From its orbital slot of 67.1 degrees West, the very high throughput geostationary (GEO) satellite incorporating cutting-edge technologies is set to deliver the best connectivity experience for SES customers operating in the aeronautical, maritime, enterprise and government markets.

Smiths Interconnect Canada Inc. (former Reflex Photonics Inc.), is the supplier of the SpaceABLE® radiation-resistant optical transceivers that are the backbone of the SES-17 payload data path.

The SpaceABLE® Series allows the interconnection and routing of an overall throughput of more than 15 Terabit/s and permit the use of the full Ka beam antennas bandwidth while being considerably lighter and more scalable than copper interconnects.

The SpaceABLE® transceivers are engineered to withstand radiation doses >100 krad (Si). The modules operate at up to 28 Gbps per channel over an operating temperature range of -40ºC to 85ºC at ultra-low bit error rates, with an expected life of over 20 years.

Guillaume Blanchette, product line manager for Space Optical Interconnects at Smiths Interconnect said, “In the last 5 years, Smiths Interconnect has made significant investments to establish comprehensive Space Testing Programs, in order to qualify the SpaceABLE Series for space applications. Seeing our products used and playing such a crucial role in a breakthrough satellite like SES-17 is a great achievement and a testament to our engineering capability and our rigorous approach to space qualification.”

SES-17 is a highly flexible and powerful satellite that incorporates cutting-edge technologies and is set to deliver the best connectivity experience for customers. The SES-17 all-digital payload uses Thales Alenia Space’s fifth generation digital transparent processor, that enables unique features such as unlimited switching/routing and frequency conversions while delivering up to ten times more throughput than traditional satellites. Furthermore, data path, bandwidth, and power can all be changed on the fly to meet a customer’s changing requirements and real-time traffic demands. 

The SpaceABLE® Series offers the following benefits to the SES-17 payload:

  • Density: less than 6 mm high (module and interposer)
  • Ruggedness: withstand radiation doses >100 krad (Si) and qualified per MIL-STD 883 shock and vibration
  • Duration: expected life up to 20 years
  • Performance: up to 10.3125 Gbps/channel over a recommended operating temperature range of –40 ºC to 85 ºC
  • Sensitivity: –9 dBm for BER 10–12
  • Low power consumption: 115 mW/lane (<10 pJ per bit).