SpaceX earns contract to deploy SES 5G service satellites atop Falcon 9

by Evelyn Arevalo August 05, 2020

SpaceX earns contract to deploy SES 5G service satellites atop Falcon 9

Featured Image Source: SpaceX

SES aims to roll out 5G internet service in the United States. The company announced today it selected SpaceX to deploy up to three C-band satellites atop two Falcon 9 rocket missions. The C-band satellites are manufactured by Northrop Grumman, they are equipped to enable SES a 280 megahertz [MHz] of mid-band spectrum for 5G connection use. –“Clearing mid-band spectrum and protecting our broadcast customers to ensure business continuity is a significant undertaking and we absolutely need to be working with the right partners,” Steve Collar, the Chief Executive Officer at SES said, “We have a deep and trusted relationship with SpaceX having been the first to launch a commercial satellite with them and subsequently the first commercial company to adopt the flight-proven booster and we could not be more confident in their ability to deliver on this time-critical mission.”

SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell stated –

“SES is one of SpaceX‘s most-valued partners, and we are proud of their continued trust in our capabilities to reliably deliver their satellites to orbit. We are excited to once again play a role in executing SES’s solutions to meet their customers’ needs.”

Overall, SpaceX has launched six SES satellites in the last seven years.

SES aims to meet the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) deadline to deploy 5G service across the United States. The FCC’s deadline to transition to 5G mobile services is December 2023. FCC expects to have a portion of that spectrum available as early as December 2021 in portions of the U.S. The C-band signal is currently used by satellite operators serving United States broadcasters that provide Television and radio signals to millions.

SpaceX will initially deploy two C-band satellites atop Falcon 9 rockets from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The two missions are scheduled for the year 2022. “These satellites will enable SES to clear 280MHz of mid-band spectrum for 5G use while seamlessly migrating SES’s existing C-band customers and ensuring the continued delivery of digital television to nearly 120 million American TV homes and other critical data services,” the company wrote in a press release.

The company also has launch contract option with SpaceX to place a third C-band satellite into orbit. This one is a ‘ground spare’ satellite that will be deployed if there was an ‘issue,’ –  “The ground spares will only be launched if there is a systematic problem that delays the satellite construction, or if there is a launch failure or any other issue that puts the accelerated clearing schedule at risk,” Suzanne Ong, a SES spokesperson told Spaceflight Now reporters, “In case of a launch failure, SpaceX will launch one of the other C-band satellites that SES will order soon.”




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