Creating buzz: The World’s First All-Electric Satellite

Boeing photo
Boeing photo
Posted January 9, 2015 at 4:47pm

On July 26, 1963, Boeing launched Syncom, the world’s first geosynchronous commercial satellite.  

Fast forward 50 years later, and Boeing is once again on the precipice of satellite innovation. The company has now completed the world’s first all-electric propulsion satellite, the 702SP (small platform), for two commercial satellite customers, Bermuda-based ABS and Paris-based Eutelsat — the pair of satellites will be launched together next month.  

Customers are asking for ways to maximize payload capability and reduce launch costs. The 702SP delivers on both fronts and can serve customers in government, civil and commercial markets.  

As with other satellites in the 702 product line, the 702SP is capable of hosting a payload. Drawing upon Boeing’s previous designs with next-generation technology and processes, such as the use of xenon gas or XIPS as the primary propulsion system, the 702SP has a more affordable, lightweight design, using patented Boeing technology that allows two satellites to be stacked vertically and launched as a conjoined pair.  

“We knew that if we could launch satellites as a pair, that one important aspect of the cost – the actual launch itself – could be maximized to achieve the highest return on investment,” said Mark Spiwak, president, Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc. “One of the primary benefits of the smaller 702SP is that two can be co-located in one orbital slot, offering almost double the capacity of a larger satellite.”