Branding: Not Rocket Science


SES unveiled a brave new branding scheme yesterday for naming its future space assets. As one would expect, the Luxembourgeoise countryside was typically excited beyond imagination.

Take a deep breath, sit down and read on…

Consistent with its role within SES as the provider of global and American satellite capacity, SES WORLD SKIES, a division of SES S.A. (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), today unveiled its updated strategic satellite fleet development plan, as well as a new naming convention for future additions to the fleet that will leverage SES’ global reach and powerful brand.

Three new advanced satellites in various stages of development and construction by Orbital Sciences Corporation are intended to replenish and expand SES WORLD SKIES’ North American fleet and will be named SES-1, SES-2 and SES-3.

SES-1 is set for launch in the spring of 2010 and will replace AMC-2 and AMC-4 at the 101° West orbital slot. Further information on launch dates and slots for SES-2 and SES-3 will be published shortly.

NSS-14, currently under construction with Space Systems/Loral and scheduled for launch in Q1 2011, has been renamed SES-4. It will replace NSS-7 and provide incremental capacity over the Atlantic Ocean with comprehensive coverage of the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. NSS-7 will then move to replace NSS-5 at 340° East.

The C-band payload of the SIRIUS 5 spacecraft, also under construction with Space Systems/Loral and scheduled for launch in Q4 2011, will be named SES-5 and reside together with the Ku-band payload of SIRIUS 5 at 5° East.

The NSS-806 replacement satellite, under negotiation with vendors, will be named SES-6.

Finally, upon closing of the Protostar-2 acquisition announced late last year, the satellite will be fully integrated into SES WORLD SKIES global fleet and renamed following the same “SES” satellite naming nomenclature.

SES-2 and SES-3 will likely be replacements for AMC-5 and AMC-1, respectively. But why, you ask? Must be a simple explanation. Aha! Allow the CEO to expand on this…

Our fleet strategy is focused purely on meeting our customers’ growing demand for telecom, television and government services delivery with the most reliable and advanced satellites that carry the most trusted and financially secure name in the industry. SES WORLD SKIES is embarking on one of the most ambitious satellite deployment initiatives in the industry to meet the strong need for ubiquitous connectivity in virtually every corner of the world.

Got that, rocket scientist?

So take AMC-1 at 103 degrees West. It was originally called Satcom H-1, with H being "hybrid," as all the previous Satcoms were either C- or Ku-band. When Americom was a part of GE, Jack Welch asked "why not call it GE-1?" So they named all future birds "GE-something." Along comes Société Européenne des Satellites, buys the Americom division from GE Capital, and renames them all as "AMC-something." I was not the only one who advocated branding all as "Satcom" again (the name dates back to 1976, but never registered as a trademark). Would have been much cleaner then — and today.

Really, SES stands for Société Européenne des Satellites. There’s your branding.