Arianespace announced today that it will launch the AMC-18 telecommunications satellite. 

AMC-18 is the 25th satellite entrusted to the European launch service company by the SES GLOBAL family of companies (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) the world’s largest private satellite operator.

The launch of AMC-18 is planned for the second half of 2006 on an Ariane 5 vehicle from Europe’s Spaceport at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

Built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, AMC-18 will have a liftoff mass of approximately 2,300 kg.  The satellite is based on the A2100 satellite bus, and will provide high-power satellite services with its payload of 24 active C-band transponders.

The AMC-18 satellite, which will be operated by SES AMERICOM, is designed for a minimum operational lifetime of 15 years, and will offer cable television distribution services across the United States from the orbital position of 105 degrees West.

Robert Kisilywicz, SES AMERICOM’s Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, said, “We are thrilled that SES is again turning to the Ariane family of launch vehicles which has delivered 23 of our spacecraft into orbit.”

Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said, “It is with great pleasure that we welcome the SES group back to Ariane for the AMC-18 mission.  There is an outstanding and long-term relationship between the two companies that dates back to SPACENET 1, boosted by Arianespace’s first launch, in 1984.”

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the commercial launch services leader, holding more than 50 percent of the international market for satellites launched to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).  Created in 1980 as the world’s first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has signed contracts for the launch of more than 260 satellite payloads.  For further information, see the Arianespace Web site at