SES Successfully Lofts Last C-band Replacement Satellites
By Stuart Thomson
Satellite operator SES has successfully lofted C-band transition satellites SES-18 and SES-19 satellites, on board a SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The two American-made satellites are the fourth and fifth – and final – satellites to be launched as part of SES’s C-band transition plan, following the launch of SES-22 in June 2022 and the tandem launch of SES-20 and SES-21 in October 2022.
SES says that these satellites are essential parts of its plan to achieve the US FCC’s plan to clear C-band spectrum to enable wireless operators to deploy 5G services across the contiguous continental US while ensuring that SES’s existing customers continue to be able to receive uninterrupted TV, radio, and critical data transmission services.
Since 2020, SES, along with other satellite operators, has been clearing 300 MHz of C-band spectrum and transitioning customer services to the remaining allocated 200 MHz of spectrum by launching new satellites, building new ground stations and installing new filters on customers’ antennas.
According to the operator, the latest two satellites will enable SES to safely clear C-band spectrum to help accomplish the FCC’s goals for 5G.
SES-18 is expected to begin operations in June 2023 at 103° West replacing SES-3 C-band payload and SES-19 will be co-located with SES-22 at 135° West.
“This successful launch marks one of the last remaining milestones on our journey to clear a portion of the C-band, and we are incredibly grateful to Northrop Grumman, SpaceX, and all of our partners who helped make this plan a reality,” said CEO of SES, Steve Collar.
“We are now on the home stretch in protecting our customers’ broadcasts while freeing crucial 5G spectrum and we look forward to successfully concluding our work well before the FCC’s December 2023 accelerated clearing deadline.”