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SES Launches Broadcast Satellite via SpaceX

SES
(Image credit: SES)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—SES announced the successful launch of its SES-22 satellite onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX’s Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, United States on Wednesday.

This is the first of SES’s C-band satellites designed to free up the lower 300 MHz of C-band spectrum. Built by Thales Alenia Space, it will operate in the 135 degrees West orbital slot and will deliver 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 2022.

The launch of SES-22 is part of the FCC’s years-long campaign to clear a portion of C-band spectrum to enable wireless operators to deploy 5G services across the contiguous US (CONUS). In response commission mandates, satellite operators such as SES are required to transition their existing services from the lower 300 MHz to the upper 200 MHz of C-band spectrum to make room for 5G.

To meet the FCC’s accelerated deadline of clearing C-band spectrum across the US by December 2023 while maintaining uninterrupted services, SES says it will launch five satellites—SES-18, SES-19, SES-20, SES-21 and SES-22 in 2022.

“We are thrilled with the successful launch of SES-22, thanks to our partners at Thales Alenia Space and SpaceX,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “The launch of SES-22, together with other upcoming C-band satellite launches scheduled this year, will enable us to continue providing the high-quality services that our customers have been accustomed to over the last several decades, while freeing up spectrum that will enable the US to rapidly unlock the promise of 5G.”

“The successful launch of SES 22 is the result of our long-standing and fruitful collaboration with SES,” said Hervé Derrey, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “This achievement reflects the robustness and flight-proven heritage of our Spacebus 4000 B2 platform combined with our ability to timely and quickly deliver SES-22, two key elements leading to the decision of SES working with us to replace its existing C-Band fleet.”

The SES-22 spacecraft had a fast on-ground delivery time as satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space shipped it only 22 months after it was ordered. SES-22 is the seventh SES satellite launched by SpaceX over the last 10 years.

Tom Butts
Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.