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SES Americom Launches New Satellite to Deliver HD

A new satellite featuring more powerful transponders and the ability to carry HD programming will soon replace the venerable Satcom C-3 satellite that has been in service for many years. Recently launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., AMC-11 was carried aboard an Atlas IIAS rocket provided by International Launch Services. The new satellite is expected to be in full service by November.

AMC-11 was built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems and features 24 transponders, each with a power of 20 Watts. The satellite will be located in Satcom C-3's orbital slot at 131 degrees West. A primary role of the satellite will be to provide high-definition service to cable head-ends as part of SES Americom's HD-Prime service, which is expected to carry programmers such as Viacom, A&E, C-SPAN, Court TV, Crown Media, Discovery, Lifetime, QVC and NBC.

In addition to more power per transponder, AMC-11 contains more redundancy than its predecessors and its service will be "protected" by sister satellite AMC-7.