SES Selects SpaceX for Launch of New C-Band Satellites

Falcon 9 lifts off on Spaceflight SSO-A mission. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

Luxembourg, 5 August 2020 (SES PR) – SES, the leader in global content connectivity solutions, announced today that American launch provider SpaceX will provide launch capability for up to 3 of its C-band satellites over two launches as part of the company’s accelerated C-band clearing plan.

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 allowing SES to meet the Federal Communications Commission’s time-critical objective to roll out 5G services across the United States.

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SES Selects ULA Atlas V to Launch Two C-Band Satellites to Accelerate C-Band clearing

An Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-6 mission for the U.S Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 4:18 p.m. EDT on March 26, 2020. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

LUXEMBOURG, 5 August 2020 (SES PR) – SES, the leader in global content connectivity solutions, has selected U.S.-based United Launch Alliance (ULA) to launch two C-band satellites.

This launch is 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.

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FCC Approves Amazon’s $10 Billion Kuiper Satellite Constellation

Jeff Bezos

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Amazon’s plan to launch its Kuiper constellation of 3,236 satellites to provide global broadband coverage.

Jeff Bezos’ company plans to invest $10 billion in the constellation, which will compete with OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink system to deliver high-speed, low-latency broadband services via satellite.

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Sen. Inhofe Puts Hold on FCC Nomination Over Ligado Decision

WASHINGTON (Jim Inhofe PR) — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced that he has placed a hold on the nomination of Mike O’Rielly to be FCC Commissioner until O’Rielly publicly commits to vote to overturn the current Ligado Order.  

“Over the past few months, I have sent letters, held hearings and called countless officials to highlight what we all know to be true: the FCC’s Ligado Order is flawed and will lead to significant harm to our military and the thousands of individuals and businesses that rely on GPS. The Trump administration understands this and has urged the FCC to reconsider the Ligado Order. 

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Keep GPS Working Coalition Launched Following FCC’s Controversial Ligardo Approval

Global Positioning System (Credit: DOT&E)

Coalition’s first action is to endorse Inhofe-Reed legislation forcing Ligado to provide financial relief to consumers, industries and other end users

WASHINGTON (June 23)—Five organizations representing thousands of companies and millions of Americans have launched a new coalition to protect end users of GPS following the Federal Communications Commission’s April 22 decision to permit Ligado Networks to operate a terrestrial wireless network using its satellite spectrum.

Ligado’s planned use of its so called “L-Band”spectrum, which is closely adjacent to bands used by GPS, would threaten the reception capability of hundreds of millions of GPS devices.

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Firefly Applies for FCC Permit for September Launch From Vandenberg

Firefly Aerospace has applied for a permit from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a launch of its Alpha booster on Sept. 6-7 from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.

“Once the launch vehicle reaches the mission altitude of 300 km, it will deploy commercial payloads into orbit. “The second stage will complete one full orbit while it downlinks data to VAFB and KSAT ground station locations in Hawaii, Mauritius, and South Africa,” the company said in its application.

Firefly has not yet launched the Alpha booster, which is designed to orbit small satellites.

Intelsat Procures New Satellites for C-band Spectrum Transition

Contracts in place with U.S. manufacturers Maxar Technologies and Northrop Grumman

McLean, Va. (Intelsat PR) – Intelsat, operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network, today announced that it has contracted for new satellites with U.S. manufacturers, a necessary step to meet the accelerated C-band spectrum clearing timelines established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year.

Intelsat has entered into two new agreements; one with Maxar Technologies to build and deliver four satellites, and another with Northrop Grumman to build and deliver two satellites. Intelsat is currently in negotiations with manufacturers for a seventh satellite required to support its C-band transition.

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FCC Adopts Bidding Procedures for $16 Billion Rural Broadband Auction

WASHINGTON (FCC PR) — The Federal Communications Commission today adopted procedures for Phase I of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction (Auction 904), which will award up to $16 billion in support over 10 years for the deployment of fixed broadband networks to millions of unserved homes and businesses across rural America.

The $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is the FCC’s most ambitious step ever toward bridging the digital divide. It prioritizes bids for higher speed—up to 1 Gbps—and lower latency networks, and more than doubles the minimum speed from the FCC’s 2018 Connect America Phase II auction to 25/3 Mbps.

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Bankrupt OneWeb Seeks to Increase Satellite Constellation Up to 48,000 Satellites

LONDON, UK, May 27, 2020 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to connect governments, businesses and people everywhere, submitted a modification request to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase the number of satellites in its constellation up to 48,000 satellites. This larger OneWeb constellation will allow for greater flexibility to meet soaring global connectivity demands.

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Trump Administration Formally Asks FCC to Reconsider Ligado Decision

The Trump Administration has formally requested that the Federal Communications Commission reconsider its approval to Ligado to construct a nationwide mobile broadband network that it says “will cause irreparable harms to federal government users of the Global Positioning System (GPS).”

The National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA) filed the appeal to rescind the approval on behalf of the Trump Administration, particularly the departments of Defense (DOD) and Transportation (DOT).

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House Science Committee Leaders Criticize FCC Action on Orbital Space Debris

WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas and Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson released a statement today on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote on new regulations for orbital space debris. 

“As we said in our letter to the FCC last week, regulatory action at this time, without consensus across federal agencies and clear authority from Congress, will at the very least create confusion and undermine the Commission’s work, and at worst undermine U.S. economic competitiveness and leadership in space,” Lucas and Johnson wrote. “Despite a host of concerns raised by this Committee, other federal agencies, and industry stakeholders, the FCC moved forward. This rulemaking process alone is problematic. During a global pandemic and unprecedented public health and economic challenges, the decision to take action on a significant regulatory change is unnecessary and ill-advised. As the Commission proceeds, we expect them to work with our Committee and all relevant federal agencies on an appropriate policy framework for orbital debris.”

FCC Unanimously Approves Ligado’s Application to Facilitate 5G and Internet of Things Services

Conditions Will Protect Incumbents from Harmful Interference

WASHINGTON (FCC PR) — The Federal Communications Commission announced that it has approved with conditions Ligado’s application to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network in the L-Band that will primarily support 5G and Internet of Things services.

The order approving Ligado’s application was adopted without dissent and will promote more efficient and effective use of our nation’s spectrum resources and ensure that adjacent band operations, including the Global Positioning System (GPS), are protected from harmful interference.

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FCC Updates Rules on Orbital Debris Mitigation

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2020 (FCC PR) —The Federal Communications Commission today comprehensively updated its satellite rules on orbital debris mitigation for the first time in over 15 years.

The Commission also voted to seek further public comment on other proposals related to mitigating orbital debris. Orbital debris, also known as space debris, can pose a risk to satellites and inhabitable spacecraft, and in some instances, pieces of debris falling back to earth can pose a risk to persons and property on the surface of the earth.

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FCC Fact Sheet on Proposed Orbital Debris Mitigation Rules

Distribution of space debris around Earth (Credit: ESA)

Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age
Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, IB Docket No. 18-313
Proposed Rules
(119 Pages)

Fact Sheet

Background: Since 2004, when the Commission first adopted rules regarding orbital debris mitigation for Commission-authorized satellites, there have been a number of developments in technologies and business models that pose new or additional orbital debris risks. These developments include the increasing deployment of lower-cost small satellites and of large constellations of non-geostationary satellite orbit systems, some potentially involving thousands of satellites.

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House Members Ask FCC To Delay Action on Orbital Debris Rules

Distribution of space debris around Earth (Credit: ESA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Three leaders of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology have called upon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay action on new orbital debris mitigation rules planned for Thursday.

“Given the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, the immense effort undertaken to recover from the pandemic, and the potential for the FCC’s proposal to exacerbate impacts on U.S. industry and international competitiveness at a critical period in our nation’s history, we hope that you will agree to postpone future action,” the letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai read.

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