Advanced Television

SES-22 launches June 29

June 24, 2022

By Chris Forrester

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is due to launch SES-22 on June 29th at 17.04pm Eastern Time from Cape Canaveral. The craft is the first of SES’s replacement C-band fleet needed to provide new capacity to its existing orbital assets serving the US as a result of the agreement with the FCC over reallocation of C-band frequencies for 5G usage.

SES has 6 of these C-band craft on order which includes one ground spare. Two more are due to be launched by SpaceX later this year while the United Launch Alliance (on Atlas 5 craft) will also place two into orbit during Q3 this year.

The six craft are funded not by SES but by the sale by the FCC of overlay licences at the FCC-organised auction in December 2020. The cost reimbursements of this replacement capacity (for SES and Intelsat) that the overlay licensees fund are separate from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 incentive payments from the FCC.

The launches are crucial and once in place will allow SES to claim the near $3 billion of Phase 2 ‘incentive’ payments from the FCC and which will be paid over by the FCC later next year. The FCC’s deadline for these extra satellites to be in position is December 2023.

SES-22 was built by Thales Alenia Space. It will operate in the 135 degrees West orbital slot and will deliver cable TV and radio to millions of American homes and provide other critical data transmission services. SES-22 is expected to start operations by early August of 2022.

Intelsat’s first pair of its replacement craft (Galaxy 33 and Galaxy 34) will be launched by SpaceX in October. Intelsat has 7 craft on order to complete its C-band transition.

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