SES Launches Two New C-Band Satellites

SES
(Image credit: SES)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—SES has successfully launched the SES-20 and SES-21 satellites using a United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Both C-band satellites will enable SES to continue delivering TV and radio to millions of American homes and provide other critical network communications services. 

SES-20 and SES-21 will operate in the 103 degrees West and 131 degrees West orbital slots, respectively, and are expected to begin operations in November 2022.

These launches are part of a broader Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program to clear a portion of C-band spectrum to enable wireless operators to deploy 5G services across the contiguous U.S. (CONUS). As part of this effort, 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.

SES-20 and SES-21 are the second and third C-band satellites that SES has launched as part of its effort to free up the lower 300 MHz of C-band spectrum across the U.S. by December 2023 while maintaining uninterrupted services. SES-22 was the first C-band satellite to be launched on June 29, 2022.

“The successful launch of SES-20 and SES-21 will allow us to support our customers in delivering high-quality sports and entertainment to tens of millions of US households while delivering on our promise to repurpose spectrum to enable U.S. leadership in 5G,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “The second phase of our U.S. C-band clearing activities is fully on track and we are grateful for the hard work of our partners at Boeing and ULA.”

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.