The Florida Today article On second flight, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch 'brute' of a satellite from Cape describes the upcoming SpaceX launch of SES-12.

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At roughly 12,000 pounds, the SES-12 spacecraft built in France by Airbus Defense and Space is not the heaviest of its kind, but is big and tall.

It’s basically two satellites in one,” said Halliwell, describing broadcasting and broadband satellites “smashed together into one bus.” (emphasis added)

According to Airbus, the satellite is the biggest and most powerful yet to rely entirely on electric propulsion to reach and hold its final orbit high over the equator.

Using electric propulsion cuts the weight usually reserved for chemical fuels, making mass more available for mission-related payloads.

(Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer at Luxembourg-based SES)

Is this just vague marketingspeak, or is the number of transponders, or total bandwidth roughly double previous similar communications satellites? Are there two identifiably distinct satellite functions present using one bus? It certainly looks complicated:

below: from Airbus tweets: 1 and 2. Click for full size.

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  • $\begingroup$ Relevant YouTubes: 1, 2, 3, 4 $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 31, 2018 at 5:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "It's a floorwax!" "And a dessert topping!" $\endgroup$ May 31, 2018 at 16:28

2 Answers 2


Via Gunter's Space Page it looks like the two functions are broadcasting and internet services (bolds are mine):

The satellite will have a dual mission. It will replace the NSS-6 satellite in orbit, providing television broadcasting and telecom infrastructure services from one end of Asia to the other, with beams adapted to six areas of coverage. It will also have a flexible multi-beam processed payload for providing broadband services covering a large expanse from Africa to Russia, Japan and Australia.


To this I will add a blurb from the 2017 Satellite Today article SES Selects Airbus Defence and Space to Build SES 12 High Throughput Satellite:

The new hybrid satellite will carry 68 Ku-band and eight Ka-band transponders. The majority of the satellite will consist of 54 widebeam transponders for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting. The second half will be 70 Ku-band and 11 Ka-band spot beams for VSAT, mobility, government and enterprise applications. Additionally the satellite will carry a digital transparent processor for improved anti-jamming capability.


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