SES-2 (AMC-5R) at 87° West
SES Americom (formerly GE Americom) awarded Orbital Sciences Corp. (Orbital ATK – Northrop Grumman) in May 2007 an order for as many as five new satellites over a multi-year period. SES Americom placed a firm order for two new satellites, the first designated as AMC-5R and the second a ground spare that was launched to another orbital location as a replacement satellite.
Deliveries of the first two satellites were scheduled for mid- and late-2009, respectively. In addition to the two satellites that Orbital immediately began constructing, the contract gave SES Americom the option to order up to three more identical satellites over the next few years after.
The AMC-5R and the identical ground spare spacecraft were hybrid satellites, each carrying 24 active C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders of 36MHz capacity each. Some of the channels in each band would also be cross-strapped, enabling new service capability. Each spacecraft would generate approximately 5kW of payload power and would have two deployable reflectors.
SES Americom announced in April 2008 the order of a third spacecraft under the multi-satellite contract both companies announced in May 2007. Under this contract, the earlier ordered ground spare became AMC-4R (originally designated AMC-1R), and a new ground spare will be produced for a future use.
In June 2008 Americom Government Services (AGS) was awarded by the U.S. Air Force to host an experimental sensor on board of AMC-5R (SES-2). The primary purpose of the CHIRP (Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload) experiment is to test a new type of infrared sensor from geo-synchronous altitude. The passive infrared sensor will be integrated onto the SES-2 satellite so that it can be launched into orbit and the data can then be transmitted to the ground for analysis.
In early 2010, the satellites were renamed from AMC-4R, AMC-5R and AMC ground spare to SES-1, SES-2 and SES-3 respectively.
SES-2 was launched on September 20th, 2011, on an Ariane 5 rocket operated by launch operator Arianespace from the Kourou Space Port in French Guiana.