C-band: SES confirms 4 new satellites
June 17, 2020
By Chris Forrester
As reported on June 16th, Luxembourg-based SES has ordered up four new satellites from US manufacturers to replace the C-band capacity it is giving up as part of the FCC’s accelerated C-band clearance plan.
Northrop Grumman and the Boeing Company to manufacture and assemble the C-band only satellites in Dulles, Virginia and in Los Angeles, California.
Northrop Grumman will deliver two of its flight-proven GeoStar-3 satellites, each equipped with a high-quality C-band payload to deliver the superior customer experience that end users are accustomed to. The two satellites – SES-18 and SES-19 – will be designed, assembled and tested in Dulles, Virginia.
Boeing will deliver a pair of highly efficient all-electric 702SP satellites. The two satellites – SES-20 and SES-21 – will be manufactured and assembled in Los Angeles, California.
SES says: “These four C-band only new satellites will enable SES to clear 280 MHz of mid-band spectrum for 5G use while seamlessly migrating SES’s existing C-band customers. Each satellite will have 10 primary transponders of 36 MHz plus back-up tubes so they can enable the broadcast delivery of digital television to more than 120 million TV homes as well as provide critical data services. The satellites, when launched in Q3/2022, will be positioned at 103 degrees West, 131 degrees West and 135 degrees West orbital slots. The cost of manufacturing these four satellites is part of the $1.6 billion investment envelope that SES has announced in May.
SES says it is committed to investing in America by procuring services and equipment needed for the C-band transition from large and small businesses across the US, and these significant partnerships with Northrop Grumman and the Boeing Company are cornerstones of that commitment.
“Given the FCC’s strong leadership in providing for accelerated clearing of precious C-band spectrum in the US, our focus is on delivering on our commitment and making the spectrum available in the shortest possible time while ensuring that we protect the broadcast customers and communities that we have built over 35 years,” said Steve Collar, CEO/SES. “To meet our deadlines to clear C-band spectrum, we have selected established American satellite manufacturers in Northrop Grumman and Boeing with their focus on heritage, reliability and minimal risk to build these four satellites, enabling us to fully support the FCC’s 5G Fast initiative.”