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SES Astra Satellite solution.SES Astra SA, a subsidiary of SES Global, is a
Luxembourg-based corporation which owns and operates the Astra series of
geostationary satellites, which transmit approximately 1100 analogue and digital
television and radio channels via 176 transponders to 91 million households
Formed in 1985 as Société Européenne web hosting france des Satellites-Astra (SES), it was Europe's first private satellite operator. Its slogan is currently "Your Satellite Connection to the World".
SES Astra operates twelve satellites from three orbital locations, seven at 19.2°E, three at 28.2°E and two at 23.5°E. The company also has three satellites on order to replace early Astra 1 models. Astra's principle of "co-location" (several satellites in the same orbital location) increases flexibility and redundancy.
SES Astra operates satellites designed by Boeing Satellite Systems with french web hosting or BSS (formerly Hughes Space and Communications), EADS Astrium and Alcatel Space.
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 offered with france web hosting 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 flexibility.
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