SES launches seventh TV, radio satellite with SpaceX

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SES has successfully launched its SES-22 satellite into space via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The unit is the first of SES’s planned C-band satellites dedicated to freeing up the lower 300 MHz of C-band spectrum.

It will operate in the 135 degrees west orbital slot and be capable of delivering TV and radio to millions of American homes as well as data transmission starting in August 2022.

The launch of SES-22 is part of a broader Federal Communications Commission program to clear a portion of C-band spectrum to enable wireless operators to deploy 5G services across the contiguous U.S. 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 U.S. by December 2023, SES will launch five satellites — SES-18, SES-19, SES-20, SES-21 and SES-22 in 2022.

The SES-22 spacecraft 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.