|Company Name:||SES ASTRA|
|Company Type:||Privately-owned subsidiary|
|Revenue:||€ ? billion (2006)|
|Net Income:||€ ? billion (2006)|
|Operating Income:||€ ? billion (2006)|
|Num Employees:||368 (2007)|
|Subsid:||SES ASTRA TechCom|
SES Astra SA, is a corporate subsidiary of SES, based in Betzdorf, in eastern Luxembourg, that owns and operates the Astra series of geostationary communication satellites, which transmit approximately 2300 analogue and digital television and radio channels via 242 transponders to 109 million households across Europe.
The first customer of SES Astra was Sky Television which leased four transponders on Astra 1A ahead of its launch in 1989. UK and Ireland-aimed channels ceased at 19.2°East in September 2001 with the closure of Sky's analogue service, although their digital service has been the main occupier of Astra's secondary position at 28.2°East since its launch in 1998.
SES Astra operates 15 satellites from five orbital locations - Astra 19.2°E, Astra 28.2°E, Astra 23.5°E, Astra 5°E, Astra 31.5°E. Astra's principle of "co-location" (several satellites are close to each other, all within a cube with a size of 150 km ); this increases flexibility and redundancy.
|Satellite||Launch Date||Manufacturer||Model||Launch vehicle||Comments|
|1F||April 8 1996||Hughes||HS-601||Proton-K|
|1H||June 16 1999||Hughes||HS-601HP||Proton|
|1KR||20 April 2006||Lockheed Martin||A2100||Atlas V (411)||Launched after the failure of Astra 1K.|
|1L||May 4, 2007||Lockheed Martin||A2100||Ariane 5-ECA||Replacement for 1E/2C; Ku and Ka bands|
|1M||Nov 6, 2008||EADS Astrium||Eurostar E3000||Proton-M||To replace 1G and provide backup at 19.2° East. Ready for commercial service 20 January 2009|
|2A||August 30 1998||Hughes||HS-601HP||Proton|
|2B||September 14 2000||Astrium||Eurostar E2000+||Ariane 5G|
|2C||June 16 2001||Hughes||HS-601HP||Proton||Initially deployed at 19.2° East pending launch of 1L, then moved to originally intended position of 28.2° East, with 2A, 2B and 2D|
|2D||December 19 2000||Hughes||HS-376HP||Ariane 5G|
|3A||March 29 2002||Boeing||HS-376HP||Ariane 44L|
|1E||October 19 1995||Hughes||HS-601||Ariane 42L||Moved from 19.2° East to 23.5° East to provide additional capacity alongside Astra 4A for central and eastern Europe.|
|1G||December 2 1997||Hughes||HS-601HP||Proton-K||Power problems, now max 20 transponders. Moved from 19.2° east February 2009 following launch of Astra 1M|
|4A||November 18 2007||Lockheed Martin||A2100AX||Proton-M||Leased transponders of Sirius 4, marketed as Astra 4A|
|1C||May 12 1993||Hughes||HS-601||Ariane 42L||Moved from 19.2° East to 5° East to provide occasional capacity alongside Astra 4A. In inclined orbit|
|1D||November 1 1994||Hughes||HS-601||Ariane 42P||Originally at 19.2° East; used at 28.2° East and 23.5° East. Moved to 31.5° East to provide occasional capacity alongside Astra 5A (now failed) for central and eastern Europe and Russia. In inclined orbit|
|NO LONGER IN OPERATION|
|1A||December 11 1988||GE AstroSpace||GE-4000||Ariane 44LP||The first Astra satellite. Now retired in graveyard orbit.|
|1B||March 2 1991||GE AstroSpace||GE-5000||Ariane 44LP||Acquired from GE Americom (Satcom K3). Now retired in graveyard orbit.|
|1K||November 26 2002||Alcatel Space||Spacebus 3000B3S||Proton||Launched to 19.2° East but failed to reach geostationary orbit, and intentionally de-orbited on December 10, 2002.|
|5A||November 12 1997||Alcatel Space||Spacebus-3000B2||Ariane 44L||Formerly known as Sirius 2. Moved to 31.5° East and renamed Astra 5A on April 29, 2008. Failed in-orbit January 16, 2009|
|NOW IN CONSTRUCTION|
|3B||Due end 2009||EADS Astrium||Eurostar E3000||Ariane 5-ECA||To replace all capacity at 23.5° East. 52 transponders in Ku band and 4 in Ka band|
|1N||Due 2011||EADS Astrium||Eurostar E3000||To replace 1H and provide backup at 19.2° East|
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-2000 and 2D is a BSS 376.
The satellites are launched by Arianespace rockets from Kourou, French Guiana or International Launch Services Proton rockets from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The satellites are launched into an elliptical "temporary transfer orbit" from where they use onboard propulsion to reach their final circular geostationary orbits, 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.
Astra 1K, the largest commercial communications satellite ever built at the time, was ordered by SES-Astra in 1997. It was launched by Proton rocket on November 26 2002. The rocket lifted off as planned and reached its parking orbit 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, however this was rejected. On December 10 2002 SES Astra instructed Alcatel Space (the manufacturer) and the French Space Agency CNES to deorbit the satellite, it broke up on re-entry over the Pacific Ocean.
On January 16, 2009 Astra 5A "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) was transferred to Astra 23.5°E. The Swedish Space Corporation (technical operators of the craft) and SES Astra are investigating the failure and working to de-orbit the satellite. Future deployment of satellite(s) to the Astra 31.5°E position is yet to be decided.