SES Americom was a major commercial satellite operator of North American geosynchronous satellites based in the United States. The company started as RCA Americom in 1975 before being bought by General Electric in 1986 and then later acquired by SES S.A. in 2001. In September 2009, SES Americom and SES New Skies merged into SES World Skies.[2]


RCA American Communications (RCA Americom) was founded in 1975 as an operator of RCA Astro Electronics-built satellites. The company's first satellite; Satcom 1, was launched on December 12, 1975. Satcom 1 was one of the earliest geostationary satellites.

Satcom 1 was instrumental in helping early cable TV channels (such as Superstation TBS and CBN) to become initially successful, because these channels distributed their programming to all of the local cable TV headends using the satellite. Additionally, it was the first satellite used by broadcast TV networks in the United States, like ABC, NBC, and CBS, to distribute their programming to all of their local affiliate stations. Satcom 1 was so widely used because it had twice the communications capacity of the competing Westar 1 (24 transponders as opposed to Westar 1’s 12), which resulted in lower transponder usage costs.

14 more (increasingly sophisticated) Satcom satellites would enter service from 1976 to 1992. In 1986 General Electric acquired RCA and renamed the Americom unit to GE American Communications (GE Americom). From 1996 new satellites were named in the GE-# series, i.e. GE-1 in 1996, GE-2 in 1997 etc.

SES purchase

In November 2001, GE sold its GE Americom unit to SES for $5 billion in cash and stock. As a result of the sale, GE Americom was renamed SES Americom and SES Global was formed as the parent company. SES's existing operations were moved to the newly created SES Astra subsidiary.[3][4]

After the acquisition of GE Americom by SES, all the satellites previously named with the GE-# prefix were renamed AMC-# (i.e., GE-1 renamed AMC-1, and so on).[5]

The President and CEO of the new SES Americom was Dean Olmstead.[6] He left the company in 2004 and was succeeded by Edward Horowitz. SES Americom was subsequently placed under Robert Bednarek, the President and CEO of SES New Skies.[7]

In September 2009, SES Americom and SES New Skies were re-branded SES World Skies.[8]

Satellite Fleet

Before being merged into SES World Skies in 2009 (which expanded coverage to Middle East and Africa), SES Americom operated the following North American satellites in geosynchronous orbit:[9]

Satellite Position Manufacturer Model Launched Launch vehicle Comments
AMC-1 103°W Lockheed Martin A2100A September 8, 1996 Atlas IIA [citation needed]
AMC-2 101°W Lockheed Martin A2100A January 30, 1997 Ariane 44L Replaced by SES-1[10]
AMC-3 87°W Lockheed Martin A2100A September 4, 1997 Atlas IIAS [citation needed]
AMC-4 101°W Lockheed Martin A2100AX November 13, 1999 Ariane 44LP Replaced by SES-1[10]
AMC-5 79°W Alcatel Space Spacebus 2000 October 28, 1998 Ariane 44L [citation needed]
AMC-6 72°W Lockheed Martin A2100AX October 22, 2000 Proton-K/DM-2 [citation needed]
AMC-7 137°W Lockheed Martin A2100A September 14, 2000 Ariane 5G [citation needed]
AMC-8 139°W Lockheed Martin A2100A December 19, 2000 Ariane 5G [citation needed]
AMC-9 83°W Alcatel Space Spacebus 3000B3 June 7, 2003 Proton-K/Briz-M[11] Failed in June 2017, apparently broke apart[12]
AMC-10 135°W Lockheed Martin A2100A February 5, 2004 Atlas IIAS[13]
AMC-11 131°W Lockheed Martin A2100A May 19, 2004 Atlas IIAS[14]
AMC-12 37.5°W Alcatel Alenia Space Spacebus 4000C3 Feb 3, 2005 Proton-M/Briz-M[15] Renamed NSS-10[16]
AMC-14[17] 61.5°W (planned) Lockheed Martin A2100 March 14, 2008 Proton-M/Briz-M Launch failure[18]
AMC-15 105°W Lockheed Martin A2100AX October 15, 2004 Proton-M/Briz-M[19]
AMC-16 85°W Lockheed Martin A2100AX December 17, 2004 Atlas V (521)[20]
AMC-18 105°W Lockheed Martin A2100A December 8, 2006 Ariane 5-ECA Replaced AMC-2 previously at 105°W
Satcom C3 79°W GE AstroSpace GE-3000 September 10, 1992 Ariane 44LP Inclined orbit
AMC-21 125°W Thales Alenia Space / Orbital Sciences Corporation STAR-2 August 14, 2008 Ariane 5-ECA[21]

See also


  1. ^ a b "SES Reports Continued Strong Results" (PDF). SES S.A. October 27, 2008. 
  2. ^ "SES re-brands international divisions". Rapidtvnews.com. 7 September 2009. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  3. ^ "Satellite Unit Of GE Capital Is Being Sold". New York Times. November 12, 2001. 
  4. ^ "SES Global completes acquisition of GE Americom". telecompaper. November 12, 2001. 
  5. ^ "GE 7, 8 / AMC 7, 8, 10, 11, 18 (Aurora 3)". Gunter's space page. July 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Dean Olmstead appointed President and CEO of SES AMERICOM" (Press release). SES WORLD SKIES. November 12, 2001. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "SES To Create New Segment Encompassing Two Of Its Satellite Operating Entities" (Press release). SES S.A. July 10, 2008. 
  8. ^ "SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES Satellite Division Re-brands As SES WORLD SKIES" (Press release). SES WORLD SKIES. September 7, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Satellite Fleet". SES AMERICOM. Archived from the original on April 11, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "SES WORLD SKIES Announces Fleet Rebrand" (Press release). SES World Skies. January 22, 2010. 
  11. ^ "300th Mission Flown by Proton Vehicle" (Press release). International Launch Services. June 7, 2003. Archived from the original on October 8, 2010. 
  12. ^ Berger, Eric (2 July 2017). "A large satellite appears to be falling apart in geostationary orbit". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2 July 2017. 
  13. ^ "ILS Successfully Orbits AMC-10 Satellite" (Press release). International Launch Services. February 5, 2004. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. 
  14. ^ "ILS Successfully Launches AMC-11 Satellite; Celebrates 5 Missions in 5 Months" (Press release). International Launch Services. May 19, 2004. Archived from the original on October 9, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Double Success: ILS Launches Payloads with Atlas and Proton on Same Day" (Press release). International Launch Services. February 3, 2005. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. 
  16. ^ "NSS-10 and NSS-11 join SES NEW SKIES fleet" (Press release). SES NEW SKIES. March 5, 2007. 
  17. ^ "AMC-14 Satellite Slated for March 15 Launch" (Press release). SES AMERICOM. February 20, 2008. 
  18. ^ "ILS declares Proton launch anomaly" (Press release). International Launch Services. March 14, 2008. Archived from the original on March 18, 2008. 
  19. ^ "ILS Proton Launches AMC-15 Satellite; 9th Mission in 9 Months" (Press release). International Launch Services. October 15, 2004. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. 
  20. ^ "ILS Launches AMC-16; Wraps Up Year With 10 Mission Successes" (Press release). International Launch Services. December 17, 2004. Archived from the original on December 19, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Another successful Arianespace launch: Superbird-7 and AMC-21 in orbit" (Press release). Arianespace. August 14, 2008. 

External links