Boeing has prepared for an early 2015 launching of two of its 702SP satellites configured in a stacked formation. In addition to the launch being the first ever to involve satellites that are conjoined, it will also place in orbit the first operational satellites with a system of propulsion that is exclusively electric. Designed by Phantom Works, Boeing’s security and defence prototyping subsidiary, and BNSS (Boeing Network & Space Systems), the small platform 702SP satellites have evolved from the operator’s 702 satellite. As opposed to propulsion by chemicals, the satellites operate in the 3 – 9 kW low-to-middle power range, and sport a fully electric system of power, stated by Boeing to maximise the capacity of payloads and minimise the spacecraft’s mass.
The pair of satellites has the ability to be launched simultaneously from the majority of commercially operated launching systems due to this weight and mass reduction, and Boeing states that the reduction will result in a 20% cost saving in comparison to current launching solutions. Boeing’s satellite pairing utilises the Eutelsat 115 West B and Asia Broadcast Satellite-3A (ABS-3A) units. The latter will assume position at 3° W to cover the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas and will support maritime services, cellular backhaul, IP trunking, TV distribution and very small aperture terminal (VSAT) systems. The orbital position of Eutelsat 115 West B will be 114.9° W to serve to American government markets, plus mobility, data and video services. It will also cover both Easter and the Galapagos islands.