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SES Selects Northrop Grumman and Boeing to Manufacture C-Band Satellites

By | June 16, 2020

Artist’s Rendition of SES-20 and SES-21. Photo: Boeing

SES has selected Northrop Grumman and The Boeing Company, to deliver four new satellites as part of the company’s accelerated C-band clearing plan. 

The satellite operator announced Tuesday that Northrop Grumman will deliver two GeoStar-3 satellites, SES-18 and SES-19, which will be designed, assembled, and tested in Dulles, Virginia. Boeing will deliver two all-electric 702SP satellites, SES-20 and SES-2, which will be manufactured and assembled in Los Angeles, California.

The new satellites are necessary as SES clears the C-band for 5G deployment on the FCC’s accelerated timeline in order to receive incentive payments. SES is eligible to receive $3.97 billion, in addition to relocation cost reimbursement. The cost of manufacturing these four satellites is part of the $1.6 billion investment envelope that SES has announced in May.

SES said each C-band only satellite will have 10 primary transponders of 36 MHz plus back-up tubes to enable the broadcast delivery of digital television and provide data services. SES plans for the satellites to be launched in the third quarter of 2022, and they will be positioned at 103 degrees West, 131 degrees West and 135 degrees West orbital slots. 

“Given the FCC’s strong leadership in providing for accelerated clearing of precious C-band spectrum in the U.S., our focus is on delivering on our commitment and making the spectrum available in the shortest possible time while ensuring that we protect the broadcast customers and communities that we have built over 35 years,” said Steve Collar, CEO at SES. “To meet our deadlines to clear C-band spectrum, we have selected established American satellite manufacturers in Northrop Grumman and Boeing with their focus on heritage, reliability and minimal risk to build these four satellites, enabling us to fully support the FCC’s 5G Fast initiative.”

This announcement follows a day after Intelsat announced it has ordered six C-band satellites from Maxar Technologies and Northrop Grumman.