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Astra 28.2°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 28.2° East position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg. It is one of the major TV satellite positions serving Europe (the others being at 19.2° East, 13° East, 23.5° East, and 5° East).

The Astra satellites at 28.2° East provide for services downlinking in the 10.70GHz-12.70GHz range of the Ku-band.

Contents

Satellite craft in use

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Market

The satellites at the Astra 28.2°E position primarily provide digital TV, digital radio and multimedia services to the UK and Republic of Ireland, broadcasting more than 470 TV, radio and interactive channels to 10 million homes in the UK and Ireland[1].

The majority of these channels broadcast as part of British Sky Broadcasting’s Sky Digital pay-TV platform or the free-to-air Freesat platform, and they include free-to-air and encrypted high definition television (HDTV) channels.

At this position, Astra 2B also provides capacity on a steerable spot beam deployed on West Africa for Internet and telecommunications services, the commercial responsibility of another subsidiary of SES, SES New Skies.

History

This position was the second orbital position used by SES Astra (after Astra 19.2°E) and the first to provide only digital channels. The first craft to occupy this position was Astra 1D, relocated from Astra 19.2°E in March 1998 to provide capacity for testing UK digital TV transmissions before the start of Sky Digital (originally slated for June 1998 but then delayed until October 1998). [2]

Following the successful launch of Astra 2A to the Astra 28.2°E position on August 30, 1998, Astra 1D was returned to 19.2°E in October 1998.

Sirius 3, from Nordic Satellite AB (later, SES Sirius) was leased to SES Astra immediately after its launch on October 5, 1998 for a period of 12 months (after which it was moved to its original destination of 5°E) to provide further capacity at 28.2°E for the expanding Sky Digital service and to backup Astra 2A, pending the launch of Astra 2B on September 14, 2000[2]

Although Astra 2C was built for the Astra 28.2°E position, it was first deployed after launch in 2001 at 19.2°E where it provided pan-European capacity pending the launch of Astra 1L. Astra 2C was moved to the Astra 28.2°E position in August 2007. In March 2009, SES Astra announced that in April, Astra 2C was to be moved to Astra 31.5°E to temporarily take over the mission of Astra 5A which had failed in orbit, and to remain at Astra 31.5°E for about one year until Astra 3B is launched to Astra 23.5°E, when another craft at that position can be released to Astra 31.5°E and Astra 2C returned to 28.2° east.[3]. The move of Astra 2C was started in May 2009 and completed on May 11[4].

Effectively co-located at this position with the SES Astra craft (actually at 28.5°E) is Eutelsat’s Eurobird 1 satellite, which also carries digital TV, digital radio and multimedia services for the UK and Republic of Ireland, including those on five transponders leased to SES Astra.

Late in 2009 SES Astra announced that three more satellites have been ordered for this position. The three craft, Astra 2E, Astra 2F and Astra 2G, are being built by Astrium on the Eurostar E3000 platform for Ku and Ka band use in Europe and Africa, and will be launched between 2012 and 2014.[5]

References

See also

External links

Coordinates: 0°00′N 28°12′E / 0°N 28.2°E / 0; 28.2


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