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SES’s fourth and fifth C-band satellites for the United States successfully launched

SES announced today that the SES-18 and SES-19 satellites, designed and assembled by Northrop Grumman, were successfully launched by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, United States, at 7:38 pm local time on Friday, March 17.

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. These satellites are essential parts of SES’s plan to achieve the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) program to clear C-band spectrum to enable wireless operators to deploy 5G services across the contiguous U.S. (CONUS) while ensuring that SES’s existing customers continue to enjoy uninterrupted TV, radio, and critical data transmission services to millions of Americans.


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 sending hundreds of satellite earth station technicians across the country to install new filters on customers’ antennas.


By providing contractual service protections to customers who receive video services in the U.S., SES-18 and SES-19 will enable SES to safely clear C-band spectrum to help accomplish the FCC’s ambitious goals for American 5G innovation. SES-18 is expected to begin operations in June 2023 at 103 degrees West replacing SES-3 C-band payload and SES-19 will be co-located with SES-22 at 135 degrees 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 Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “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.”

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