Boeing’s First All-Electric Propulsion Satellites Send First On-Orbit Signals


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With advancement of the 702 satellite system, Boeing released the 702 Small Platform (720SP). Operating on 3-8 kilowatts of power, with a capability of reaching a maximum of 18 kilowatts, the 702SP uses all-electric propulsion to increase liftoff force and reduce launch mass. This all-electric technology was the first of its kind to be launched into space. Using five reflectors, the 702SP was made easier to operate than previous models. Furthermore, the satellite offers much flexibility to customers. Modifications include sensors, UHF, military Ka-band, navigation L-band, and many other changes. The 702SP currently accommodates the S-, X-, C-, Ku-, and Ka-band frequencies.

Most notable about the recent launch was that two Boeing 702SP satellites were sent as a conjoined stack on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. As a pair, this model design is an efficient way to save launch time, reduce costs by about twenty percent, and exceed mission requirements. This dual launch was made possible due to the 702SP’s lightweight design. The first order of the 702SP was designated through a joint contract between Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) and Eutelsat in March 2012-production began in May 2013. In addition to the Falcon 9, the satellites can also be launched using the Ariane 5, Sea Launch, Proton, Soyuz, Atlas 5, and Delta IV.

Stationed in St. Louis, the Defense, Space, and Security unit of Boeing headed this project. With more than 53,000 employees and USD$31 billion in revenue, this department is a head manufacturer of satellite technology.

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