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

 and 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...

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
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 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
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...

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.