Huge Astra reports for duty

Astra 1M, a 36-transponder heavyweight satellite, is on station at 19.2 deg East and ready for commercial operations. Astra 1M was launched on November 5 2008 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan atop a Proton rocket. It has two key missions: to replace existing DTH capacity and to perform back-up duties.

“With Astra 1M now operational, we have reached another very important milestone in our fleet renewal programme, thus maintaining and strengthening our main orbital position at 19.2 degrees East and further increasing our flexibility in deploying our fleet,” said Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES Astra.

Astra 1M means that SES can now start on its ‘celestial ballet’ whereby existing capacity at 19.2 deg East can be re-deployed. High on the list will be its 31.5 deg East position, from where Astra 5A was recently lost/retired. However, Astra is also known to be seeking to beef up its 23.5 deg East position.