Press Release

AMC-18 Satellite Slated for December 8 Launch

By SpaceRef Editor
November 15, 2006
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Spacecraft Strengthens AMERICOM’s Cable and High Definition Capacity

SES GLOBAL (Paris:SESG LuxX:SESG) announced today that the AMERICOM-18 (AMC-18) satellite was delivered to Kourou, French Guiana on November 6 to be readied for its Ariane 5 ECA launch on December 8. The A2100 spacecraft, procured by SES GLOBAL Satellite Leasing Ltd. Isle of Man, will be commercially operated by SES AMERICOM. The satellite, built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS), is being launched by Arianespace for service at the 105 degrees West longitude orbital position.

The spacecraft, along with an array of testing equipment and systems, was packed into six sea containers weighing more than 30 metric tons and then loaded on a special purpose Antonov cargo plane. The flight left Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California processing center on November 5, 2006 and arrived the following day. The plane’s cargo was unloaded and the combined satellite programme teams from AMERICOM and LMCSS immediately began a rigorous sequence of pre-launch preparations. These preparations include launch site testing, spacecraft fuelling, integrating the satellite into the fairing, mating the fairing with the Ariane 5, a final set of tests, and roll-out of the rocket to the launch pad. AMC-18’s co-passenger on Ariane flight 174 will be WildBlue-1.

AMC-18 is an all C-band satellite, designed to offer full North American coverage including all 50 U.S. states, the Caribbean and Mexico from 105 degrees West longitude. It will become the third satellite in this section of the “arc” delivering cable programming; the other two satellites are AMC-1 at 103 degrees West and AMC-4 at 101 degrees West. Working with its customers and the cable industry, AMERICOM has installed triple-feed antennas to cable head-ends serving half of the U.S. cable households to facilitate their reception of programming from all three spacecraft.

The A2100 spacecraft has been optimized for next generation programming services, including high definition channels. The high level of redundancy for the payload and all mission critical subsystems is typical of AMERICOM spacecraft. In this instance, triple redundancy on TT&C subsystem and on-board computers, plus payload redundancy is covered with 16-for-12 transponders for intra-spacecraft backup. In addition, in-orbit protection by AMC-7, will protect the cable programming services distributed on AMC-18.

“We appreciate the quality workmanship of the LMCSS team on AMC-18; this satellite’s mission is to expand the bandwidth resources needed by the cable community as they increase their delivery of high definition channels,” said Edward D. Horowitz, President and CEO of SES AMERICOM. He continued, “We have entrusted this important spacecraft to Arianespace for an on-time and on-target launch in early December; we have customers across the U.S. waiting to use the payload.”


Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems builds upon the expertise of several heritages Lockheed Martin companies and has manufactured, launched, deployed and maintained more space platforms than any other company. Its satellite systems support a broad range of applications, including direct broadcast, fixed satellite, broadband and mobile communications. LMCSS is best known for its award-winning A2100 spacecraft platform. There are currently 30 A2100 satellites in orbit, providing service to customers in all regions of the world. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2005 sales of $37.2 billion.

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the commercial launch services leader, holding more than 50 percent of the international market for satellites launched to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Created in 1980 as the world’s first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has signed contracts for the launch of more than 270 satellite payloads. For further information, see the Arianespace Web site at



The largest supplier of satellite services in the U.S., SES AMERICOM is recognized as a pioneer of global satellite communications services. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the launch of its first satellite, the company today operates a fleet of 18 spacecraft in orbital positions predominantly providing service throughout the Americas. As a member of the SES GLOBAL family, SES AMERICOM is able to provide end-to-end telecommunications solutions to any region of the world via a fleet of 44 satellites. In addition, AMERICOM Government Services, a wholly owned subsidiary, is dedicated to providing satellite-based communications solutions to both civilian and defense agencies of the U.S. government. With its combined operations, SES AMERICOM serves broadcasters, cable programmers, aeronautical and maritime communications integrators, Internet service providers, mobile communications networks, government agencies, educational institutions, carriers and secure global data networks with efficient communication and content distribution solutions.


Monica Morgan, +1-609-987-4143


Yves Feltes, +352 710725311

SpaceRef staff editor.