AMC-18 (GE-18) at 139° West
|Launch vehicle:||Ariane 5ECA|
|Expected lifetime:||15 Years|
In 2005 satellite operator GE Americom ordered the AMC-18 satellite with Lockheed Martin. The satellite is based on Lockheed Martin’s A2100A platform and was launched on December 8th, 2006, on an Ariane 5 rocket operated by Arianespace from their Kourou Space Port launch site in French Guiana.
GE Americom ordered three satellites, GE-7, GE-8 and GE-9, all C-band satellites with 24 active transponders, provide distribution of cable, broadcast television and radio, telecommunications services, business television and broadband data distribution throughout North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Asia. The GE satellites were renamed AMC on the purchase of GE Americom by satellite operator SES. GE-9 was apparently cancelled. AMC-8 is used by Alascom, Inc, an Alaskan telecommunications company and subsidiary of AT&T, as Aurora 3.
AMC-18 is located at 139° West longitude, providing coverage of North America with 24 C- band transponders of 12 to 18W each. Future users included The CW Television Network, NASA TV and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, among other services.
AMC-18 is used by thousands of terrestrial radio stations for network feeds using ground equipment from Starguide, X-Digital Systems, Wegener and International Datacasting Corp. (IDC). Major tenants are Cumulus Media Networks Satellite Services (which includes Citadel Media, Westwood One Networks, Talk Radio Network, WOR Radio Network and others), Skyview Networks (which includes ABC News, ABC Radio, California News Network, Arizona News Network, numerous Professional and Collegian Sports networks, and others), Orbital Media Networks (which includes United Stations Radio Networks, John Tesh, and others), Premiere Radio Networks, Dial Global, Westwood One, Learfield Communications, The Free Beer and Hot Wings Show, etc.
The spacecraft can deliver and receive signals from 50 states, the Caribbean and Mexico and has been designated as the third HD-PRIME satellite.
Originally built as a ground spare to the AMC-10 and AMC-11 satellite program, AMC-18 is optimized for digital television distribution from the center of the USA orbital arc. The satellite has an expected lifetime of at least 15 years.