Launch Spotlight: SES 20 & 21 – ULA’s Atlas V set to launch two TV broadcasting satellites

Atlas V

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V 531 is set to launch the SES 20 and 21 satellites at 5:36 p.m. EDT on October 4, 2022. These two satellites will be operated by SES of Luxembourg and provide TV broadcasting service across the continental United States.

Launch Overview

Launch Date: October 4, 2022, 5:36 p.m. EDT

Payload: SES 20 and SES 21

Rocket: Atlas V 531

Launch Pad: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida

Destination: Near-Geosychronos Orbit

Landing Site: N/A

The Mission

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is set to launch two TV broadcasting satellites to a near-geosynchronous orbit for SES of Luxembourg. SES-20 and SES-21 will both use the onboard propulsion system to circularize the respective orbits with an altitude of 22,300 miles above the equator. The satellites were constricted by Boeing and will service the continental United States with C-Band payloads while not interfering with the lower 300MHz and upper 200MHz C-band spectrum so as to not disrupt 5G coverage as part of the FCC’s 5G Fast initiative.

What is the Atlas V?

The Atlas rocket has been a workhorse for the United States military and NASA. The Atlas V family tree goes back to the late 1950s as one of the US military’s first ICBMs. However, the military quickly determined liquid-fueled rockets were better suited for the satellite business, and the Atlas launcher was born. NASA and the Department of Defense used the Atlas for Project Mercury, Gemini, and some of the most critical scientific and national security missions throughout its history.

The different versions of Atlas V

Launching this mission will be the 531 configuration, nicknamed the “Thunderer” It features a five-meter diameter payload fairing, three solid rocket boosters, and a single RL-10 upper-stage engine.

The Weather

October 4, 2022

  • 80% GO
  • Primary Concern(s):
    • Cumulus Clouds
  • Risk(s):
    • Solar Activity – Low-Mod

24-hour Delay

  • 90% GO
  • Primary Concern(s):
    • Cumulus Clouds
  • Risk(s):
    • All Risks Low

Last Updated: Oct. 3, 7:15 p.m.

Where to watch?

United Launch Alliance will be hosting a live stream covering the launch of SES 20 and 21 on its YouTube channel. The stream is currently set to begin about 15 minutes before launch.

Featured Image: SES 20 and 21 – Derek Wise for

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