SES Astra
Overview
 
Astra is the name for the geostationary
Geostationary orbit
A geostationary orbit is a geosynchronous orbit directly above the Earth's equator , with a period equal to the Earth's rotational period and an orbital eccentricity of approximately zero. An object in a geostationary orbit appears motionless, at a fixed position in the sky, to ground observers...

 communication satellites, both individually and as a group, which are owned and operated by SES S.A., a global satellite operator based in Betzdorf
Betzdorf, Luxembourg
Betzdorf is a commune and village in eastern Luxembourg. It is part of the canton of Grevenmacher, which is part of the district of Grevenmacher. The commune's administrative centre is Berg....

, in eastern Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

. The name is sometimes also used to describe the channels broadcasting from these satellites, the transmissions or the reception equipment. The Astra satellites transmit
Transmission (telecommunications)
Transmission, in telecommunications, is the process of sending, propagating and receiving an analogue or digital information signal over a physical point-to-point or point-to-multipoint transmission medium, either wired, optical fiber or wireless...

 nearly 2400 digital
Digital
A digital system is a data technology that uses discrete values. By contrast, non-digital systems use a continuous range of values to represent information...

 television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 and radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 channels
Channel (communications)
In telecommunications and computer networking, a communication channel, or channel, refers either to a physical transmission medium such as a wire, or to a logical connection over a multiplexed medium such as a radio channel...

 via five main satellite orbital positions to 135 million household
Household
The household is "the basic residential unit in which economic production, consumption, inheritance, child rearing, and shelter are organized and carried out"; [the household] "may or may not be synonymous with family"....

s across Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and North Africa.

Before September 2011, the Astra satellites were operated by the company, SES Astra (commonly also called “Astra”), a corporate
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

 subsidiary
Subsidiary
A subsidiary company, subsidiary, or daughter company is a company that is completely or partly owned and wholly controlled by another company that owns more than half of the subsidiary's stock. The subsidiary can be a company, corporation, or limited liability company. In some cases it is a...

 of SES, which in 2011 was consolidated into the parent company, along with sister subsidiary SES World Skies.
Encyclopedia
Astra is the name for the geostationary
Geostationary orbit
A geostationary orbit is a geosynchronous orbit directly above the Earth's equator , with a period equal to the Earth's rotational period and an orbital eccentricity of approximately zero. An object in a geostationary orbit appears motionless, at a fixed position in the sky, to ground observers...

 communication satellites, both individually and as a group, which are owned and operated by SES S.A., a global satellite operator based in Betzdorf
Betzdorf, Luxembourg
Betzdorf is a commune and village in eastern Luxembourg. It is part of the canton of Grevenmacher, which is part of the district of Grevenmacher. The commune's administrative centre is Berg....

, in eastern Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

. The name is sometimes also used to describe the channels broadcasting from these satellites, the transmissions or the reception equipment. The Astra satellites transmit
Transmission (telecommunications)
Transmission, in telecommunications, is the process of sending, propagating and receiving an analogue or digital information signal over a physical point-to-point or point-to-multipoint transmission medium, either wired, optical fiber or wireless...

 nearly 2400 digital
Digital
A digital system is a data technology that uses discrete values. By contrast, non-digital systems use a continuous range of values to represent information...

 television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 and radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 channels
Channel (communications)
In telecommunications and computer networking, a communication channel, or channel, refers either to a physical transmission medium such as a wire, or to a logical connection over a multiplexed medium such as a radio channel...

 via five main satellite orbital positions to 135 million household
Household
The household is "the basic residential unit in which economic production, consumption, inheritance, child rearing, and shelter are organized and carried out"; [the household] "may or may not be synonymous with family"....

s across Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and North Africa.

Before September 2011, the Astra satellites were operated by the company, SES Astra (commonly also called “Astra”), a corporate
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

 subsidiary
Subsidiary
A subsidiary company, subsidiary, or daughter company is a company that is completely or partly owned and wholly controlled by another company that owns more than half of the subsidiary's stock. The subsidiary can be a company, corporation, or limited liability company. In some cases it is a...

 of SES, which in 2011 was consolidated into the parent company, along with sister subsidiary SES World Skies. Some other subsidiaries of SES associated with the Astra satellites also use the Astra name – Astra Platform Services
ASTRA Platform Services
ASTRA Platform Services GmbH is a sister company of SES Astra, both are subsidiaries of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg. From its headquarters in Unterföhring near Munich, Germany, APS operates a broadcasting centre, providing a wide range of services, including content management, playout,...

, Astra Broadband Services
ASTRA2Connect
ASTRA2Connect is a two-way satellite broadband Internet service available across Europe, which launched in March 2007, and uses the ASTRA series of geostationary satellites...

, and Astra TechCom.

Formed in 1985 as Société Européenne des Satellites, SES was Europe's first private satellite operator and its first satellite, Astra 1A
Astra 1A
Astra 1A was the first satellite launched and operated by SES . During its early days, it was often referred to as the Astra Satellite, as SES only operated one satellite originally....

, was launched to the 19.2° east
Astra 19.2°E
Astra 19.2°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 19.2°East orbital position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg....

 orbital position in 1989. The first customer was Sky Television
Sky Television plc
Sky Television plc was a public limited company which operated its four-channel satellite television service, launched by Rupert Murdoch's News International on 5 February 1989...

, which leased four transponder
Transponder
In telecommunication, the term transponder has the following meanings:...

s on Astra 1A ahead of its launch, for the first satellite TV channels aimed at the UK and Ireland. Sky’s digital service
Sky Digital
The Sky Digital brand is used in more than one country:* Sky - Digital television service for the United Kingdom operated by BSkyB and for the Republic of Ireland operated by Sky Ireland.* SKY Network Television in New Zealand....

 was also the first user (and remains the main occupier) of the second Astra position at 28.2° east
Astra 28.2°E
Astra 28.2°E is the name for the group of Astra communications satellites co-located at the 28.2° East position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

 established in 1998.

The Astra satellites have been instrumental in the establishment of satellite TV and the introduction of digital TV, HDTV, and 3D TV in Europe, and SES is a member of the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV
Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV
Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV is both an industry standard and promotional initiative for hybrid digital TV to harmonise the broadcast, IPTV, and broadband delivery of entertainment to the end consumer through connected TVs and set-top boxes...

 (HbbTV) consortium that is promoting and establishing an open European standard for hybrid set-top boxes for the reception of broadcast TV and broadband multimedia applications with a single user interface. A book, High Above
High Above (book)
High Above - The untold story of Astra, Europe’s leading satellite company is a book describing the development of the European satellite provider SES Astra, published in 2010 on the occasion of the company’s 25th anniversary by Broadgate Publications in Richmond, UK.It is a large “coffee table”...

, telling the story of the creation and development of the Astra satellites and the history of recent developments of the European TV and media industry, along with their context in the wider development of broadcasting and space technology, was published in April 2010 to mark the 25th Anniversary of SES.

The OnAstra website is aimed at Astra viewers and consumers and provides a customisable TV Guide to programmes showing on Astra channels across Europe, a Channel Guide to broadcasters on the Astra satellites, and news, help, FAQs and tutorials on selecting and installing equipment to receive Astra satellite broadcasts.

Astra Satellite details

There are 16 operational Astra satellites, the majority in five orbital locations - Astra 19.2°E
Astra 19.2°E
Astra 19.2°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 19.2°East orbital position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg....

, Astra 28.2°E
Astra 28.2°E
Astra 28.2°E is the name for the group of Astra communications satellites co-located at the 28.2° East position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

, Astra 23.5°E
Astra 23.5°E
Astra 23.5°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 23.5° east position in the Clarke Belt owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

, Astra 5°E
Astra 5°E
Astra 5°E is the name for the communications satellites co-located at the 5° east position in the Clarke Belt which are owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

, Astra 31.5°E
Astra 31.5°E
Astra 31.5°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 31.5° east position in the Clarke Belt owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

. Astra's principle of "co-location" (several satellites are maintained close to each other, all within a cube with a size of 150 km;) increases flexibility and redundancy.
Satellite Launch Date Manufacturer Model Launch vehicle Comments
ASTRA 19.2°E
Astra 19.2°E
Astra 19.2°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 19.2°East orbital position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg....

Received in 42.6 million DTH satellite households
1H June 16, 1999 Hughes HS-601HP Proton
1KR
Astra 1KR
Astra 1KR is a geostationary satellite owned by SES Astra. It was launched in April 2006 as a replacement for Astra 1K, which failed to reach orbit on launch in 2002...

20 April 2006 Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

A2100
A2100
The A2100 is a communications satellite spacecraft made by Lockheed Martin Space Systems for telecommunications in geosynchronous orbit.The Lockheed Martin A2100 geosynchronous spacecraft series is designed for a variety of telecommunications needs including Ka band broadband and broadcast...

Atlas V
Atlas V
Atlas V is an active expendable launch system in the Atlas rocket family. Atlas V was formerly operated by Lockheed Martin, and is now operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance...

 (411)
Launched after the failure of Astra 1K.
1L May 4, 2007 Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

A2100
A2100
The A2100 is a communications satellite spacecraft made by Lockheed Martin Space Systems for telecommunications in geosynchronous orbit.The Lockheed Martin A2100 geosynchronous spacecraft series is designed for a variety of telecommunications needs including Ka band broadband and broadcast...

Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

-ECA
Replacement for 1E/2C; Ku
Ku band
The Kμ band is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies. This symbol refers to —in other words, the band directly below the K-band...

 and Ka
Ka band
The Ka band covers the frequencies of 26.5–40 GHz. The Ka band is part of the K band of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum. This symbol refers to "K-above" — in other words, the band directly above the K-band...

 bands
1M
Astra 1M
Astra 1M is a Luxembourgian geostationary communications satellite which is operated by SES Astra. It is positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 19.2 degrees East, from where it is used to provide direct-to-home broadcasting to Europe....

Nov 6, 2008 EADS Astrium
EADS Astrium
Astrium Satellites is one of the three business units of Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS. It is a European space manufacturer involved in the manufacture of spacecraft used for science, Earth observation and telecommunication, as well as the equipment and subsystems used therein and related ground...

Eurostar E3000 Proton-M
Proton-M
The Proton-M, GRAU index 8K82M or 8K82KM, is a Russian carrier rocket derived from the Soviet-developed Proton. It is built by Khrunichev, and launched from sites 81 and 200 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Commercial launches are marketed by International Launch Services , and generally...

Replacement for 1G and backup at 19.2°E. Started commercial service 20 January 2009
2C
Astra 2C
Astra 2C is a communications satellite owned and operated by SES Astra. Designed to join Astra 2A and Astra 2B at the Astra 28.2°E orbital slot providing digital television and radio broadcast services to the UK and Republic of Ireland, the satellite was first used at 19.2°E for pan-European...

June 16, 2001 Hughes HS-601HP Proton Initially deployed at 19.2°E pending launch of 1L, then moved to originally intended position of 28.2°E. Moved to 31.5°E (May 2009) to temporarily replace the failed Astra 5A. Moved to 19.2°E where it provides an analogue channel.
ASTRA 28.2°E
Astra 28.2°E
Astra 28.2°E is the name for the group of Astra communications satellites co-located at the 28.2° East position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

Received in 11.6 million DTH satellite households
2A
Astra 2A
Astra 2A is a communications satellite owned by SES Astra. Launched in 1998, half its expected end-of-life capacity of 28 transponders were pre-booked by BSkyB, who utilised it to launch their new Sky Digital service...

August 30, 1998 Hughes HS-601HP Proton
2B
Astra 2B
Astra 2B is a communications satellite owned and operated by SES Astra, launched in 2000 to join Astra 2A at the Astra 28.2°E orbital slot providing digital television and radio broadcast services to the UK and Republic of Ireland....

September 14, 2000 Astrium
EADS Astrium
Astrium Satellites is one of the three business units of Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS. It is a European space manufacturer involved in the manufacture of spacecraft used for science, Earth observation and telecommunication, as well as the equipment and subsystems used therein and related ground...

Eurostar E2000+
Eurostar (spacecraft)
Eurostar is the brand name for a satellite bus made by Astrium which has been used for a series of spacecraft providing telecommunications services in geosynchronous orbit . More than 60 Eurostar satellites have been ordered to date, of which 45 have been successfully launched since October 1990...

Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

G
2D
Astra 2D
Astra 2D is one of a group of Astra communications satellites operated by SES, located at 28.2° east in the Clarke Belt. It is a Hughes HS-376 craft, and was launched from the Guiana Space Centre in December 2000....

December 19, 2000 Hughes HS-376HP Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

G
1N August 6, 2011 EADS Astrium
EADS Astrium
Astrium Satellites is one of the three business units of Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS. It is a European space manufacturer involved in the manufacture of spacecraft used for science, Earth observation and telecommunication, as well as the equipment and subsystems used therein and related ground...

Eurostar E3000 Ariane 5-ECA Started commercial service October 24, 2011
ASTRA 23.5°E
Astra 23.5°E
Astra 23.5°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 23.5° east position in the Clarke Belt owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

Received in 2.0 million DTH satellite households
3A
Astra 3A
Astra 3A is a communications satellite owned and operated by SES Astra, launched in 2002 to the Astra 23.5°E orbital slot providing digital television and radio for DTH and cable, multimedia and interactive services, corporate networks, and occasional and other business services to central...

March 29, 2002 Boeing HS-376HP Ariane 4
Ariane 4
Ariane 4 was an expendable launch system, designed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales and manufactured and marketed by its subsidiary Arianespace. Ariane 4 was justly known as the ‘workhorse’ of the Ariane family. Since its first flight on 15 June 1988 until the last, on 15 February 2003, it...

4L
3B
Astra 3B
Astra 3B is a communications satellite owned and operated by SES Astra, launched in 2010 to the Astra 23.5°E orbital slot providing digital television and radio for direct-to-home , and two-way satellite broadband services across Europe and the Middle East....

May 21, 2010 EADS Astrium
EADS Astrium
Astrium Satellites is one of the three business units of Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS. It is a European space manufacturer involved in the manufacture of spacecraft used for science, Earth observation and telecommunication, as well as the equipment and subsystems used therein and related ground...

Eurostar E3000 Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

-ECA
To replace Astra 1E and 1G with 52 transponders in Ku band
Ku band
The Kμ band is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies. This symbol refers to —in other words, the band directly below the K-band...

 and 4 in Ka band
Ka band
The Ka band covers the frequencies of 26.5–40 GHz. The Ka band is part of the K band of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum. This symbol refers to "K-above" — in other words, the band directly above the K-band...

. Launch delayed for nearly two months due to launcher problems.
ASTRA 5°E
Astra 5°E
Astra 5°E is the name for the communications satellites co-located at the 5° east position in the Clarke Belt which are owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

Received in 4.3 million DTH satellite households
1E
Astra 1E
Astra 1E is a communications satellite owned and operated by SES Astra, and launched in 1995 to the Astra 19.2°E orbital slot to provide digital television and radio for DTH across Europe....

October 19, 1995 Hughes HS-601 Ariane 42L Originally at 19.2°E. Used at 23.5°E pending launch of Astra 3B. Moved to 5°E September 2010
4A
Astra 4A
Astra 4A is one of the Astracommunications satellite owned and operated by SES at the Astra 5°E orbital slot providing digital television and radio broadcasts, data, and interactive services to Nordic countries, eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa in the 11.70 GHz-12.75 GHz range of the...

November 18, 2007 Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

A2100AX Proton-M
Proton-M
The Proton-M, GRAU index 8K82M or 8K82KM, is a Russian carrier rocket derived from the Soviet-developed Proton. It is built by Khrunichev, and launched from sites 81 and 200 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Commercial launches are marketed by International Launch Services , and generally...

Originally called Sirius 4
ASTRA 31.5°E
Astra 31.5°E
Astra 31.5°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 31.5° east position in the Clarke Belt owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

1G December 2, 1997 Hughes HS-601HP Proton-K
Proton-K
The Proton-K, also designated Proton 8K82K after its GRAU index, 8K82K, is a Russian, previously Soviet, carrier rocket derived from the earlier Proton. It was built by Khrunichev, and is launched from sites 81 and 200 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan...

Power problems, now max 20 transponders. Moved from 19.2°E to 23.5°E February 2009 following launch of Astra 1M. Then to 31.5°E (July 2010) following launch of Astra 3B.
OCCASIONAL USE
1C
Astra 1C
Astra 1C was the third communications satellite launched by the Société Européenne des Satellites , now SES Astra. It is the oldest Astra satellite still in operation, although it currently carries few services...

May 12, 1993 Hughes HS-601 Ariane 42L Originally at 19.2°E. Used at 5°E. Now at 2.0°E for occasional traffic. Inclined orbit
Inclined orbit
A satellite is said to occupy an inclined orbit around the Earth if the orbit exhibits an angle other than zero degrees with the equatorial plane. This angle is called the orbit's inclination...

1D
Astra 1D
Astra 1D was the fourth, and under original plans, last communications satellite from Société Européenne des Satellites , now SES Astra. It was launched to Astra's original solitary operational position at 19.2° east, and was intended as an in-orbit spare for Astra's 1A, 1B and 1C...

November 1, 1994 Hughes HS-601 Ariane 42P Originally at 19.2°E. Used at 28.2°E, 23.5°E, 31.5°E and 1.8°E. Now at 28°E for testing. Inclined orbit
Inclined orbit
A satellite is said to occupy an inclined orbit around the Earth if the orbit exhibits an angle other than zero degrees with the equatorial plane. This angle is called the orbit's inclination...

NO LONGER IN OPERATION
1A
Astra 1A
Astra 1A was the first satellite launched and operated by SES . During its early days, it was often referred to as the Astra Satellite, as SES only operated one satellite originally....

December 11, 1988 GE AstroSpace GE-4000 Ariane 44LP The first Astra satellite. Now retired in graveyard orbit
Graveyard orbit
A graveyard orbit, also called a supersynchronous orbit, junk orbit or disposal orbit, is an orbit significantly above synchronous orbit, where spacecraft are intentionally placed at the end of their operational life...

.
1B
Astra 1B
Astra 1B was the second satellite launched and operated by Société Européenne des Satellites , now SES Astra. It was bought during its construction from GE Americom, and was launched to add extra capacity to the satellite television services from 19.2° east, serving Germany, the UK and Republic of...

March 2, 1991 GE AstroSpace GE-5000 Ariane 44LP Acquired from GE Americom (Satcom K3
Satcom (satellite)
The Satcom series was a family of communications satellites originally developed and operated by RCA American Communications . Satcom was one of the early geostationary satellites; the first were the Syncom series, in 1964. The first Satcom satellite, Satcom 1, was launched on December 13, 1975...

). Now retired in graveyard orbit
Graveyard orbit
A graveyard orbit, also called a supersynchronous orbit, junk orbit or disposal orbit, is an orbit significantly above synchronous orbit, where spacecraft are intentionally placed at the end of their operational life...

.
1F April 8, 1996 Hughes HS-601 Proton-K
Proton-K
The Proton-K, also designated Proton 8K82K after its GRAU index, 8K82K, is a Russian, previously Soviet, carrier rocket derived from the earlier Proton. It was built by Khrunichev, and is launched from sites 81 and 200 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan...

Moved in August 2009 to 51°E for SES World Skies. Not currently in regular use
1K
Astra 1K
Astra 1K was a communications satellite manufactured by Alcatel Space for SES Astra. When it was launched on November 25, 2002 it was the largest civilian communications satellite ever launched, weighing...

November 26, 2002 Alcatel Space Spacebus
Spacebus
Spacebus is a satellite bus produced at the Cannes Mandelieu Space Center in France by Thales Alenia Space. Spacebuses are typically used for geostationary communications satellites, and fifty-two have been launched since development started in the 1980s. Spacebus was originally produced by...

 3000B3S
Proton Launched to 19.2°E but failed to reach geostationary orbit, and intentionally de-orbited on December 10, 2002.
5A
Astra 5A
Astra 5A is a communications satellite owned and operated by SES Astra at the Astra 31.5°E orbital slot. Launched in 1997 to the 5°E position by NSAB as Sirius 2, operation of the satellite was transferred to SES Astra in April 2008 and the craft renamed and moved to 31.5°E to open up a new...

November 12, 1997 Alcatel Space Spacebus
Spacebus
Spacebus is a satellite bus produced at the Cannes Mandelieu Space Center in France by Thales Alenia Space. Spacebuses are typically used for geostationary communications satellites, and fifty-two have been launched since development started in the 1980s. Spacebus was originally produced by...

-3000B2
Ariane 44L Formerly known as Sirius 2. Moved to 31.5°E and renamed Astra 5A on April 29, 2008. Failed in-orbit January 16, 2009
NOW IN CONSTRUCTION
4B Due Q4 2011 Space Systems/Loral
Space Systems/Loral
Space Systems/Loral , of Palo Alto, California, is the wholly owned manufacturing subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications. It was acquired in 1990 for $715 million by Loral Corp. from Ford Motor Company as the Space Systems Division of Ford Aerospace...

LS-1300 Proton-M To add new capacity at 5.0°E. The satellite was formerly known as Sirius 5.
2F Due Q4 2012 EADS Astrium
EADS Astrium
Astrium Satellites is one of the three business units of Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS. It is a European space manufacturer involved in the manufacture of spacecraft used for science, Earth observation and telecommunication, as well as the equipment and subsystems used therein and related ground...

Eurostar E3000 Proton-M Rolling capacity replacement at 28.2°E
2E Due Q1 2013 EADS Astrium
EADS Astrium
Astrium Satellites is one of the three business units of Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS. It is a European space manufacturer involved in the manufacture of spacecraft used for science, Earth observation and telecommunication, as well as the equipment and subsystems used therein and related ground...

Eurostar E3000 Ariane 5-ECA Rolling capacity replacement at 28.2°E
5B Due Q3 2013 EADS Astrium
EADS Astrium
Astrium Satellites is one of the three business units of Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS. It is a European space manufacturer involved in the manufacture of spacecraft used for science, Earth observation and telecommunication, as well as the equipment and subsystems used therein and related ground...

Eurostar E3000 Ariane 5-ECA To add new capacity and replace existing craft at 31.5°E
2G Due Q1 2014 EADS Astrium
EADS Astrium
Astrium Satellites is one of the three business units of Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS. It is a European space manufacturer involved in the manufacture of spacecraft used for science, Earth observation and telecommunication, as well as the equipment and subsystems used therein and related ground...

Eurostar E3000 Rolling capacity replacement at 28.2°E

Astra broadcasting statistics

  • Astra satellite broadcasts are received in over 135 million households in Europe and North Africa
  • 57.6 million households receive Astra services via a direct-to-home dish
    Satellite dish
    A satellite dish is a dish-shaped type of parabolic antenna designed to receive microwaves from communications satellites, which transmit data transmissions or broadcasts, such as satellite television.-Principle of operation:...

  • 67.8 million households receive Astra services via a cable headend
  • 9.8 million households receive Astra services via an IPTV
    IPTV
    Internet Protocol television is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet protocol suite over a packet-switched network such as the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.IPTV services...

     network
  • Astra satellites broadcast 200 high definition TV channels
  • 16 million households watch high definition TV channels via Astra satellites


All figures from Astra’s Satellite Monitor survey to year-end 2010

Satellite manufacturer and launch

Astra satellites have been designed by Boeing Satellite Systems or BSS (formerly Hughes Space and Communications), EADS Astrium
EADS Astrium
Astrium Satellites is one of the three business units of Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS. It is a European space manufacturer involved in the manufacture of spacecraft used for science, Earth observation and telecommunication, as well as the equipment and subsystems used therein and related ground...

, Alcatel Space
Alcatel
Alcatel Mobile Phones is a brand of mobile handsets. It was established in 2004 as a joint venture between Alcatel-Lucent of France and TCL Communication of China....

, and Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

. The Astra satellites within a family are not identical, for example of the Astra 2 satellites; 2A and 2C are BSS 601HPs, 2B is an Astrium Eurostar E2000+ and 2D is a BSS 376.

The satellites are launched by Arianespace
Arianespace
Arianespace SA is a French company founded in 1980 as the world's first commercial space transportation company. It undertakes the production, operation, and marketing of the Ariane 5 rocket launcher as part of the Ariane programme....

 rockets
Ariane (rocket)
Ariane is a series of a European civilian expendable launch vehicles for space launch use. The name comes from the French spelling of the mythological character Ariadne....

 from Kourou
Kourou
Kourou is a commune in French Guiana, an overseas region and department of France located in South America.Kourou is the location of the Guiana Space Centre, France and ESA's main spaceport.-Geography:...

, French Guiana
French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

 or International Launch Services
International Launch Services
International Launch Services is a U.S.-Russian joint venture with exclusive rights to the worldwide sale of commercial Proton rocket launch services from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.- Ownership :...

 Proton rocket
Proton rocket
Proton is an expendable launch system used for both commercial and Russian government space launches. The first Proton rocket was launched in 1965 and the launch system is still in use as of 2011, which makes it one of the most successful heavy boosters in the history of spaceflight...

s from Baikonur
Baikonur Cosmodrome
The Baikonur Cosmodrome , also called Tyuratam, is the world's first and largest operational space launch facility. It is located in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan, about east of the Aral Sea, north of the Syr Darya river, near Tyuratam railway station, at 90 meters above sea level...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

. The satellites are launched into an elliptical "temporary transfer orbit" from where they use onboard propulsion to reach their final circular geostationary orbit
Geostationary orbit
A geostationary orbit is a geosynchronous orbit directly above the Earth's equator , with a period equal to the Earth's rotational period and an orbital eccentricity of approximately zero. An object in a geostationary orbit appears motionless, at a fixed position in the sky, to ground observers...

s, at nearly 36,000 km altitude. Proton rockets fitted with a fourth stage propulsion unit are capable of launching the satellites several thousand kilometres higher (at the closest point of the elliptical orbit) than Ariane rockets. As a result most satellites launched in this way have to use less fuel to reach their geostationary orbit, increasing their lifetime.

Sirius and Astra 4A

The Sirius
SIRIUS (satellite)
Sirius was a constellation of communications satellites operated at 5°E in geostationary orbit by SES Sirius . They carried digital satellite television to the countries of Scandinavia, Baltic states, eastern Europe and Africa, including the Viasat pay TV system, along with several pay TV...

 series of satellites (not connected with the North American Sirius Satellite Radio
Sirius Satellite Radio
Sirius Satellite Radio is a satellite radio service operating in North America, owned by Sirius XM Radio.Headquartered in New York City, with smaller studios in Los Angeles and Memphis, Sirius was officially launched on July 1, 2002 and currently provides 69 streams of music and 65 streams of...

 service) was started in 1993 with the purchase of the BSB
British Satellite Broadcasting
British Satellite Broadcasting was a British television company which provided direct broadcast satellite television services to the United Kingdom...

 Marcopolo 1 satellite (renamed Sirius 1) by Nordic Satellite AB (NSAB) for direct to home
Direct broadcast satellite
Direct broadcast satellite is a term used to refer to satellite television broadcasts intended for home reception.A designation broader than DBS would be direct-to-home signals, or DTH. This has initially distinguished the transmissions directly intended for home viewers from cable television...

 broadcasts to the Nordic and Baltic regions from the 5° east orbital position. Subsequent satellites launched to this location include Sirius 2 (1997), Sirius 3 (1998) and Sirius 4 (2007) and the position’s coverage has been expanded to include Eastern Europe and Africa.

In 2000, SES (then SES Astra) bought the 50% shareholding in NSAB owned by Teracom and Tele Danmark and in 2003 increased that holding to 75%, renaming the company SES Sirius AB. In 2008 Astra acquired further shares to take its shareholding in SES Sirius to 90% and in March 2010 took full control of the company. In June 2010, the affiliate company was renamed SES Astra and the Sirius 4 satellite renamed Astra 4A.

The Astra 4A designation was originally given in 2005 to part of the NSS-10 craft (33 transponders) owned by another subsidiary of SES, SES New Skies
SES NEW SKIES
SES World Skies—formerly SES New Skies, New Skies Satellites , and SES Americom—is a Dutch operator of communications spacecraft, owned by SES.On 30 November 1998, several former Intelsat satellites were transferred to New Skies’ control...

, and positioned at 37.5° west for broadcast, data, and telecommunications into Africa, and in 2007 to part of the Sirius 4 satellite (six transponders of the FSS Africa beam) owned and operated by SES Sirius. From June 2010, the Astra 4A designation has applied to the entire satellite previously known as Sirius 4.

Failures

Astra 1K
Astra 1K
Astra 1K was a communications satellite manufactured by Alcatel Space for SES Astra. When it was launched on November 25, 2002 it was the largest civilian communications satellite ever launched, weighing...

, the largest commercial communications satellite ever built at the time, was ordered by SES in 1997. It was launched by Proton rocket on November 26, 2002. The rocket lifted off as planned and reached its parking orbit
Parking orbit
A parking orbit is a temporary orbit used during the launch of a satellite or other space probe. A launch vehicle boosts into the parking orbit, then coasts for a while, then fires again to enter the final desired trajectory...

 at which point the final stage of the rocket was to initiate a second burn to transfer the satellite to its geostationary orbit. This did not occur and the satellite was released into the parking orbit, making it unusable. The only way to recover the satellite would have been the use of a Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

, however this was rejected. On December 10, 2002 SES instructed Alcatel Space (the manufacturer) and the French Space Agency CNES
CNES
The is the French government space agency . Established under President Charles de Gaulle in 1961, its headquarters are located in central Paris and it is under the supervision of the French Ministries of Defence and Research...

 to deorbit the satellite, it broke up on re-entry over the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

.

On January 16, 2009 Astra 5A
Astra 5A
Astra 5A is a communications satellite owned and operated by SES Astra at the Astra 31.5°E orbital slot. Launched in 1997 to the 5°E position by NSAB as Sirius 2, operation of the satellite was transferred to SES Astra in April 2008 and the craft renamed and moved to 31.5°E to open up a new...

 at 31.5° east
Astra 31.5°E
Astra 31.5°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 31.5° east position in the Clarke Belt owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

 "experienced a technical anomaly leading to the end of the spacecraft’s mission" some four years ahead of the spacecraft's expected end of life. Traffic carried by the satellite (especially channels for German cable service, Kabel Deutschland
Kabel Deutschland
-Company:Kabel Deutschland operates in 13 of the 16 states . In 2006, of the 15.4 million households passed by their cable the company served 9.6 million, however only one third of these are direct customers of Kabel Deutschland, since especially in large apartment complexes the in-house cable...

) was transferred to Astra 23.5°E
Astra 23.5°E
Astra 23.5°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 23.5° east position in the Clarke Belt owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

. In March 2009, SES (then SES Astra) announced that in April, the Astra 2C
Astra 2C
Astra 2C is a communications satellite owned and operated by SES Astra. Designed to join Astra 2A and Astra 2B at the Astra 28.2°E orbital slot providing digital television and radio broadcast services to the UK and Republic of Ireland, the satellite was first used at 19.2°E for pan-European...

 satellite was to be moved from the 28.2° east
Astra 28.2°E
Astra 28.2°E is the name for the group of Astra communications satellites co-located at the 28.2° East position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

 position to 31.5° east to temporarily take over Astra 5A's mission until Astra 3B is launched to 23.5° east
Astra 23.5°E
Astra 23.5°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 23.5° east position in the Clarke Belt owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

, when another craft currently there can be released to 31.5° east. The move of Astra 2C was started in May and completed on May 11 with the first transponders coming into use at the new position in the subsequent two weeks.

HDTV

The first high definition TV channel in Europe broadcast via Astra 19.2°E. Belgian company Euro1080 launched the HD1 channel on January 1, 2004 with the traditional Vienna New Year's Concert. Astra was a keen proponent of HDTV and both supported new HDTV channels and pressed for standards, founding the European HDTV Forum and the HD ready
HD ready
The HD ready is a certification program introduced in 2005 by EICTA , now DIGITALEUROPE....

 TV specification.

This proactive approach led to the rapid establishment of HDTV in Europe, and to Astra satellites becoming the leading HDTV carrier. Astra's annual Satellite Monitor market survey for 2010 reported more than 200 commercial channels broadcasting in HD from Astra satellites, 185 million HD-Ready TVs sold in Europe (£60 million in 2010 alone), and 20 million households (27% of all European digital satellite TV homes) watching HD satellite broadcasts (16 million via Astra satellites).

3D TV

Astra satellites are also prominent in the development and roll-out of commercial 3D TV services for Europe, and in September 2010 SES announced an initiative with the backing of the major European public and private broadcasters and the consumer electronics industry, to support the introduction of 3D TV in Europe, including agreement on the minimum technical specifications required for broadcasting and receiving 3D television.

British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc is a satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with operations in the United Kingdom and the Ireland....

 (Sky) launched a limited 3D TV broadcast service on April 3, 2010 from the Astra 28.2°E
Astra 28.2°E
Astra 28.2°E is the name for the group of Astra communications satellites co-located at the 28.2° East position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

 position, Sky 3D
Sky 3D
Sky 3D is a 3DTV channel on the Sky platform, that launched on 3 April 2010 with the Manchester United vs Chelsea football match being broadcast in over a thousand pubs across England in 3D. On 1 October 2010, Sky 3D became available to residential subscribers...

 broadcast a selection of live UK Premier League football matches to over 1000 British pubs and clubs equipped with a Sky+HD Digibox and 3D Ready TVs, and preview programmes provided for free to top-tier Sky HD subscribers with 3D TV equipment. This was later expanded to include a selection of films, sports, and entertainment programming to become Europe's first commercial 3D TV channel, launched to Sky subscribers on 1 October 2010.

As of April 2011 there were nine 3D channels broadcasting from Astra satellites, including demonstrations provided by Astra, pay-TV from BSkyB, Sky Deutschland, CanalSat
CanalSat
CanalSat is a French digital satellite and DSL pay television service. It is owned by Vivendi with a 65% share, minority shareholders are Lagardère , TF1 and M6...

 Digital+ and others, such as the Dutch Brava3D cultural channel, and even a 3D adult channel from Penthouse TV.

Although take-up of 3D TV is considered slow by some, SES predicts growth, and in March 2011 Ferdinand Kayser (then SES Astra President) ompared 3D roll-out to the initial development of HDTV, saying, "In Year One of HDTV we carried six channels. That number more or less doubled every year. We believe in 3D."

See also

  • ASTRA2Connect
    ASTRA2Connect
    ASTRA2Connect is a two-way satellite broadband Internet service available across Europe, which launched in March 2007, and uses the ASTRA series of geostationary satellites...

  • Astra Digital Radio
    Astra Digital Radio
    Astra Digital Radio is a system used by SES Astra for digital radio transmissions on their Astra 1 satellites, using the audio subcarrier frequencies of analogue television channels. It was introduced in 1995...

  • ASTRA Platform Services
    ASTRA Platform Services
    ASTRA Platform Services GmbH is a sister company of SES Astra, both are subsidiaries of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg. From its headquarters in Unterföhring near Munich, Germany, APS operates a broadcasting centre, providing a wide range of services, including content management, playout,...

  • HD+
    HD+
    This article is about the television service "HD+"; for the computer screen resolution see Computer display standard.HD+ is a package of high definition digital satellite TV channels for German-speaking viewers and the company providing that package, based in Unterföhring near Munich, Germany...

  • High Above
    High Above (book)
    High Above - The untold story of Astra, Europe’s leading satellite company is a book describing the development of the European satellite provider SES Astra, published in 2010 on the occasion of the company’s 25th anniversary by Broadgate Publications in Richmond, UK.It is a large “coffee table”...

    (book)
  • List of broadcast satellites
  • SES S.A.
  • SES Sirius
    SES SIRIUS
    SES Sirius, formerly called Nordic Satellite AB is the owner and operator of the two Sirius satellites, which provide the Nordic countries and the Baltic states, with TV, radio, data and communications solutions...

  • SES New Skies
    SES NEW SKIES
    SES World Skies—formerly SES New Skies, New Skies Satellites , and SES Americom—is a Dutch operator of communications spacecraft, owned by SES.On 30 November 1998, several former Intelsat satellites were transferred to New Skies’ control...

  • SES Americom
    SES Americom
    SES Americom was a major commercial satellite operator based in the United States. Formerly RCA Americom and GE Americom, the company became one of the principal parts of SES S.A.....

  • Solaris Mobile
    Solaris Mobile
    Solaris Mobile is a joint venture company between SES Astra and Eutelsat Communications to develop and commercialize the first geostationary satellite systems in Europe for broadcasting video, radio and data to in-vehicle receivers and to mobile devices, such as mobile phones, portable media...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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