08.55 Europe/London, August 10, 2011 By Robert Briel

SES has announced that its QuetzSat-1 satellite has safely arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The satellite operator has said that the SES-2 satellite has arrived at the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Both satellites are set for a September launch.

The QuetzSat-1 spacecraft (pictured above), manufactured by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), will now be readied for launch onboard an ILS Proton Breeze M booster, scheduled for lift off in September 2011.

QuetzSat-1 is an all Ku-band high-powered communications satellite with coverage of Mexico, USA, and Central America, which is fully contracted to a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation and will be used in part by Dish Mexico, an EchoStar joint venture, for DTH services in Mexico.

“We have enjoyed a close working relationship with SES, and QuetzSat is the first to launch of three SES satellites currently under construction at SS/L,” said John Celli, president of Space Systems/Loral, in a statement. “Our companies share a commitment to providing the infrastructure for outstanding satellite communications and we are very pleased to support SES’ growth in fast developing markets around the world.”

When launched, QuetzSat-1 will be positioned at 77 degrees West. It is based on SS/L’s 1300 satellite platform which provides the flexibility to support a broad range of applications and technology advances and provides high power for advanced DTH television. It is designed to deliver service for 15 years or longer.

“Space Systems/Loral is a valued supplier to SES,” said Martin Halliwell, CTO of SES. “QuetzSat is an important addition to our fleet and we are happy that it is now in Baikonur beginning its preparations for launch.”

The SES-2 spacecraft, manufactured by Orbital Sciences Corporation, will be readied for launch on board an Ariane 5 ECA booster, scheduled for lift-off early September, 2011.

SES-2 is a hybrid C- and Ku-band satellite which will replace SES’ AMC-3 spacecraft at 87 degrees West and provide coverage of North America and the Caribbean. The satellite will continue distributing advanced digital media from one of the world’s largest TV neighborhoods, as well as supporting a variety of enterprise, VSAT and government customers.

The satellite’s easterly location with its coverage of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean was specifically designed to provide communications links to offshore platforms for customers in the oil and gas and maritime markets. The cross-strapping capabilities from C- to Ku-band on the spacecraft will enable customers to further optimize their enterprise networks.

SES-2 is based on Orbital’s space-proven Star 2.4 platform, the largest and most powerful geostationary communications satellites Orbital builds. It carries 24 C-Band transponders and 24 Ku-Band transponders (36 MHz equivalents), generates approximately five kilowatts of payload power, and features a design life of 15 years.

The state-of-the-art spacecraft will also carry the Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP) sensor specially developed for the US government for testing purposes.

Romain Bausch, president and CEO of SES, said in a statement: “SES-2 will provide seamless replacement capacity at the important orbital position of 87 degrees West, ensuring a number of our North American customers a smooth continuation of their operations for years to come. Fitted with CHIRP, SES’ first hosted payload, SES-2 is also an important demonstration of how hosting government special purpose payloads on commercial satellites can provide cost effective means for experimenting with new technologies. We look forward to another Ariane 5 success as the combined teams of Arianespace, Orbital and SES prepare SES-2 for launch over the next few weeks.”