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SES selects United Launch Alliance and SpaceX to launch new C-band satellites

(5 August 2020 - SES) SES has selected United Launch Alliance (ULA) to launch two C-band satellites in a single launch and SpaceX to launch up to 3 of its C-band satellites over two launches

These launches are part of the company’s accelerated C-band clearing plan to meet the Federal Communications Commission’s objectives to roll out 5G services in the United States.

ULA’s Atlas V rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2022 and carry the two stacked satellites. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch two C-band satellites built by Northrop Grumman as well as provide enhanced protection to rapidly launch a contingency satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2022.

Earlier this year, SES contracted with American companies Northrop Grumman and the Boeing Company to deliver four C-band satellites. 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. ULA will launch the two C-band satellites manufactured by Boeing whilst SpaceX will launch the two C-band satellites manufactured by Northrop Grumman.

SES is investing in America through its C-band transition plan and its work with large and small businesses across the country and its selection of Atlas V, an American launch vehicle launched from the American soil underlines that commitment.

“Clearing mid-band spectrum expeditiously while protecting cable neighborhoods across America is a huge undertaking and one that requires partners that can deliver mission success and schedule assurance,” said Steve Collar, CEO at SES. “We are thrilled to be working with ULA again and partnering to meet the FCC’s ambitious timeline for the accelerated clearing of C-band spectrum.”

“We are pleased SES selected ULA and our proven Atlas V for this important commercial launch service,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “Atlas V is known for its unmatched level of schedule certainty and reliability and this launch is critical to the timely clearing of C-band spectrum, empowering America’s accelerated implementation of 5G. ULA’s legacy of performance, precision and mission design flexibility allow us to deliver a tailored launch service that minimizes orbit raising time and perfectly meet our customer’s requirements. We are thrilled to provide this optimized launch solution to SES for this crucial launch.”

SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell noted, “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.”