Intelsat selects SpaceX and Arianespace as launch providers to deploy satellites that will enable 5G

Intelsat is the largest provider of satellite communications services to the United States military and provides Television service to over 100 million American households. The company also helps U.S. mobile service providers to expand 4G and 5G connection to rural areas.

Intelsat announced on September 17 it selected SpaceX and Arianespace as launch providers to deploy seven C-band replacement satellites that will upgrade its satellite constellation, “to move forward and meet the accelerated C-band spectrum clearing timelines established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year,” the company wrote in a press release.

The FCC is funding the satellite replacement as part of a program to transition to 5G mobile services across the United States. Intelsat’s satellites C-band spectrum would enable the capability. “We have made exceptional progress to date in executing our transition plan,” said Intelsat Chief Services Officer Mike DeMarco. “We’re moving forward at an accelerated pace to clear portions of the C-band spectrum and help cement America’s leadership in 5G.”

SpaceX will launch four satellites on a pair of Falcon 9 rocket missions starting in the year 2022. Arianespace will launch two satellites on an Ariane 5 rocket in 2022, and the final Intelsat-37 satellite will launch an until 2023. The launch contracts combined are valued at $390 million, Intelsat did not give details on how much each launch provider will earn out of the combined contract value. Six of Intelsat’s C-band satellites will be manufactured by Maxar and Northrop Grumman. – “The diversity of manufacturers and launch-vehicle providers will lower transition program costs and help Intelsat mitigate potential launch-delay risks that could prevent the company from meeting the FCC’s accelerated clearing deadlines,” Intelsat representatives stated.

“We’re committed to maintaining this momentum, and we look forward to collaborating with our longstanding partners, Maxar, Northrop Grumman, SpaceX and Arianespace, on these important contracts to ensure we can continue to provide the high-quality, uninterrupted television, radio and data services that more than 100 million American homes and businesses have come to rely upon,” DeMarco added.