The first of SES’s C-band satellites dedicated to freeing up the lower 300 MHz of C-band spectrum. SES-22 was built by Thales Alenia Space and will operate in the 135 degrees West orbital slot. It will deliver TV and radio to millions of American homes and provide other critical data transmission services.
The launch of SES-22, which is expected to start operations in early August, is part of a broader Federal Communications Commission (FCC) programme to clear a portion of C-band spectrum to enable wireless operators to deploy 5G services across the contiguous US (CONUS). In response to a mandate from the FCC, 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 will launch five satellites – SES-18, SES-19, SES-20, SES-21 and SES-22 in 2022.
Commenting on the launch, Steve Collar, CEO of SES, said: “We are thrilled with the successful launch of SES-22, thanks to our partners at Thales Alenia Space and SpaceX.
“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”.
Hervé Derrey, president and CEO of Thales Alenia Space, added: “The successful launch of SES 22 is the result of our long-standing and fruitful collaboration with SES.
“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”.
SES notes that SES-22 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.