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Intelsat, SES Outline Sat Plans in Earning Reports

Earning reports from satellite operators include notice of any significant problems with their satellite fleet and also new satellites or services they plan to offer. In the past week, both Intelsat and SES both released reports discussing their fleets.

Intelsat reported plans to launch three satellites, Intelsat 20, Intelsat 23, and Intelsat 21 in August, with the birds expected to go into service before the end of this year. The next scheduled launch is for Intelsat 27 in the first quarter of 2013. After that, Intelsat is not planning another launch until the second half of 2014.

Intelsat 19, which was launched in June, has completed in-orbit testing and is headed to its authorized location at 166 degrees East, where it will replace Intelsat 8. Intelsat said the satellite experienced damage to its south solar array and power available is “less than is required to operate 100 percent of the payload capacity.” All current Intelsat 8 customers that planned to move to Intelsat 19 will do so later in this month. 

A major new initiative for the company is Intelsat EpicNG. 

“In June, we announced the realization of our long-term vision for our global infrastructure, the Intelsat EpicNG satellite platform, our next generation satellite series,” said Dave McGlade, Intelsat CEO. “Intelsat EpicNG incorporates a high-performance and high-throughput design with operational features that are important to our B2B customer base, such as frequency flexibility, open architecture and backward compatibility of ground hardware. The recently announced long-term contractual commitments by blue-chip customers to the platform, as well as new commitments and renewals on the current fleet, demonstrate the enduring need for broadband infrastructure on land, sea and air.”

SES reported its SES-5 satellite, launched on July 9, is currently undergoing in-orbit testing before entering commercial service for markets in Africa and Europe. It should be ready in the third quarter of this year. SES has one additional launch scheduled for 2012, Astra 2F. The satellite is scheduled to be launched from the European Spaceport in French Guiana in September. It will provide replacement capacity for the 28.2 degrees East location, a Ka-band payload for Europe and the Middle East, and 12 high power Ku-band transponders to serve sub-Saharan Africa. 

SES has one item listed under “Satellite Health”. It states: “SES operates a number of spacecraft which are susceptible to solar array circuit failures. No additional circuit failures have occurred since the early April event, details of which were announced with the first quarter trading statement.”

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.