UPDATEÂ 20/07/13 at 20.00 - An update on the "Proton-M" rocket crash and the now delayed/postponed "Astra 2E" satellite launch is thatÂ the firstÂ restarted launch from the "Baikonur Cosmodrome" will be in early September of 2013 with the preparations for said launch being carried out in August of 2013,Â the "ILS" (International Launch Services) own follow up "FROB" (Failure Review Oversight Board) investigation and review into the "Proton-M" crash should have been completed by the first week of August, the long awaited "Astra 2E" satellite was scheduled to be the next launch after this "Proton-M" rocket crash while carrying the three "Glosnass" satellites so based on the above information and if everything goes according to the information above then it is quite possible that the "Astra 2E" satellite will be launched in early September of 2013 and if it is the case that "Astra 2E" is launched in early September of 2013 then the expectation would be for "Astra 2E" to have been officially announced as operational and in service at the 28.2 degrees east satellite position by the End of October of 2013, as is normal with these things all this is subject to change of course
UPDATEÂ 18/07/13 at 17.00 - An update on the "Proton-M" rocket crash of the 2nd of July, 2013 which because of this has put an indefinite Â delay on the "Astra 2E" satellite launch, the "Russian Federal Space Agency" (Roscosmos) have said that "the space rocket's failed launch was due to an error during installation of three yaw-axis angular rate sensors on the Proton-M rocket",Â read the full articleHEREÂ ,Â also said was that "the commission determined that the liftoff switch was activated 0.4 seconds before the rocket actually separated from the launch pad", the investigation by the commission continues because they will need to determine exactly why there was a premature "lift off" when there should not have been, this continuation of the investigation means that there will be and still is no further news on when "Proton-M" rocket launches from the "Baikonur Cosmodrome" in Kazakhstan will resume, this in turn means that we are still no clearer as to when the "Astra 2E" satellite will be launched, launches are still postponed
UPDATEÂ 13/07/13 at 09.30 - An update regarding the investigations into the cause of the "Proton" rocket crash of the 2nd of July, 2013 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, apparently the "Russian State Commission" inquiry is still ongoing but is expected to be completed by the end of July, following this completion the expectation is that theÂ "ILS" (International Launch Services) own "FROB" (Failure Review Oversight Board) investigation and review will begin in early/mid August, of course all this is relevant regarding the delayed "Astra 2E" satellite launch and in light of this latest information it is looking increasingly likely that it will be a September launch for the "Astra 2E" satellite
UPDATEÂ 10/07/13 at 19.30 - Regarding the "Proton" rocket crash of the 2nd of July, 2013 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan all of the people associated with the "Astra 2E" satellite launch were in a safe area and no harm came to any of them, alsoÂ there were no injuries or casualities either Russian or Kazakhstani, the now delayed "Astra 2E" satellite has been put unfuelled in temporary storage and most of the "Astra 2E" associated people have left the Baikonur Cosmodrome on the 5th of July, 2013, they will only return when the investigations are completed into the cause of the "Proton" rocket crash and the remedies/solutions have been implemented. Following the "Proton" rocket crash no damage was caused to launch pad 24 or launch pad 39, "Astra 2E" was scheduled to be launched from launch pad 39. The "Russian State Commission" will investigate the cause of this "Proton" rocket failure/crash, following their report, findings, and suggested remedy "ILS" (International Launch Services) will conduct their own "FROB" (Failure Review Oversight Board) which will review the "Russian State Commissions" report, findings, and suggested remedy, this "FROB" investigation would possibly not begin until Late July/Early August, obviously there will be no launches and more specifically there will be no "Astra 2E" launch until the "Russian State Commission" and the "FROB" have completed their investigations and the suggested remedies have been put in place, at a guess I think that the very earliest date that "Astra 2E" could now possibly be launched would be in Late August, 2013 but they would even be pushing it to even meet that date
UPDATEÂ 10/07/13 at 17.00 -Â The "SES-Astra" website now says "TBC" (To Be Confirmed) for the "Astra 2E" satellite launch date
UPDATEÂ 10/07/13 at 08.00 - I did say that we would be getting news very soon and so it comes to pass, according to Russian media the 2nd of July, 2013 "Proton" rocket crash at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was caused by human error and I quoteÂ "The angular velocity sensors were wired up with the wrong polarity therefore the rocket was orientated incorrectly", do I hear everyone shouting out all at once "It was the Vodka drinking Russian wot dun it Guv"! LOL! This man should be on his way to Siberia as we speak! LOL! We await further developments with earnest
UPDATEÂ 05/07/13 at 17.30 - "EuropaSat" will market the "SES-Astra" satellite broadband service "SES-Broadband" in the UK and Europe, thisÂ service uses Ka-band capacity on the "Astra 2F satellite at the 28.2 degrees east satellite position, this capacity will be further extended after the launch of "Astra 2E", The "Astra 2E" satellite when it eventually gets launched and arrives at 28.2 degrees east will provide internet via satellite with download speeds of up to 20 Mbit/s to end consumers from it'sÂ 3 wideband Ka-band transponders, you can readÂ the full articleÂ HERE
UPDATEÂ 05/07/13 at 17.30 - "SES-Astra" have signed a collabarotion agreement with "SSI-Monaco" (Space Systems International Monaco) for the development and use of the 52 degrees East Monaco orbital position, "SSI" are responsible for the realization of the "MonacoSat" satellite project andÂ signed a set of agreements with the "Turkmenistan Ministry of Communications" in relation to the use of the 52 degrees east satellite position andÂ included the right for "SSI" to use 12 Ku-band transponders on the "TurkmenSpace" satellite, the satellite will be launched in late 2014/early 2015. So that is why the "Astra 1H" satellite was moved from the 19.2 degrees east satellite position to the 52.0 degrees east satellite position, well that as well as to make room at 19.2 degrees east for the eventual arrival of "Astra 1N", "Astra 1H" must be keeping 52 degrees east safe and sound, basically housekeeping before the new tenant arrives, "Astra 1H" could be at 52 degrees east until 2015 but of I am sure that "SES-Astra" will find a use for during the meantime, the full article isÂ HERE
UPDATE 05/07/13 at 15.30 - I told you it would not be long before we started getting some news, apparently an "Early Launch" is being said as one of the likely causes of the "Proton "rocket crash of the 2nd of July, 2013 which has put such a probabledelay on the "Astra 2E" satellite launch, so it could have been an "Early Start", we have all been waiting so long for "Astra 2E" that I would have thought that an "Early Start"would have been nigh on impossible, it is now! LOL! Also regarding this launch I just love what has been posted on some of the official websites, "ILS" (International Launch Services) following the "Proton" crash put "The rocket veered off it's flight path and returned to earth"! It probably forgot it's passport, if that is returning to earth then I am dreading the next time my wife falls of my rocket! LOL! Also this was on the "Facebook" page of "SES-Astra" and I quote "Astra 2E landed this week at it's launch location"! OK that was posted on the 28th of June, 2013 before the accident but a nice chooice of words nonetheless, it does make me wonder if "SES-Astra" have got a "Crystal Ball" just like mine though!
UPDATEÂ 04/07/13 at 19.30 - Astra 2EÂ launch delay - Whilst it is a definite that the launch of the "Astra 2E" satellite will be delayed the big question is how long will this delayÂ lastÂ for, it is currently unknown because weÂ are in the very early stages of investigations into the cause following the "Proton" rocket crash of the 2nd of Julybut it would seem that "ILS" (International Launch Services) are implyingÂ that all is not as bad as it seems, we will reserve judgement onÂ that one, they say thatÂ damage was very minimal at"Baikonur", they also say that the "Proton" rocketÂ thatÂ crashed is a different to the one used for the main satellite launches such as "Astra 2E" andÂ I presume that what they are reallyÂ implying isbasicallyÂ that the other "AstraÂ 2E" rocketÂ is and wouldÂ beÂ OKÂ so let's back to it and let's get on with it, now "ILS"Â being a commercial company would want launches to recommence as soon as possible andÂ evenÂ yesterday but what is also said is that the "Proton" rockets' first engines are basically the same, we all saw the rocket crash and after seeing those crash pictures I am sure that we are all of the same train of thought that the problemÂ could and is possiblyÂ a first engine problem, it basically only just left the ground and very swiftly returned to earth,Â "Returned toÂ Earth" are the words of "ILS" not me,Â using this logic if someone is in a train crash would the official statement say something likeÂ "The Train arrived at a Different Destination" or if there was a car crash would an official statement say "The Car has stoppedÂ to go toÂ the Garage"! LOL!Â So, back on subject, there are investigation underway into theÂ cause of this "Proton" crash, personally i do not think it is going to be too long before they find out a general cause of the accident andÂ issue a statement of clarity to, it is all public relations exercises, they will not stay silent, we will get word,Â and then following this theyÂ would then have narrowed it down to a specific part of the equipment whichÂ willÂ then be thoroughly checked, obviously theÂ "Baikonur Cosmodrome" needs a thorough clean up but that is not too difficult a thingÂ to do, but my anticipation is that we will not have to wait to long forÂ clarification regarding whether launches will resume or will indeed be delayed for theÂ two or three months currently anticipated, it all depends on what and where the crashed "Proton"Â rocket's problems were, give it a week or two and we should all be furtherÂ clarified and enlightened regarding where "AstraÂ 2E" stands!
UPDATEÂ 02/07/13 at 21.30 -Â SES-Astra Satellite Happenings 3??
I will try and keep it simple but please bear in mind that this might be slightly confusing, I apologise in advance if it is difficult to follow but imagine what it is like to think up and write the bloody thing! LOL! There are lots of variables to follow.Â Â© Rob's Satellite TV
Following this now inevitable delay to the launch of "Astra 2E" I would not like to be in the shoes of "SES-Astra" right now considering the apparent urgency that an "Astra 2E" launch and in operation is really desired and required by them, but if I were in the shoes of "SES-Astra" what would the options now be, firstly you need some background information to help you through the maze of possibilities that I am about to take you through.Â© Rob's Satellite TV
The 28.2 degrees east satellite position of "SES-Astra" needs another satellite, currently positioned there are the following satellites, Astra 2A, Astra 2F, Astra 1N, and Astra 2D, the current status of all these satellites is that Astra 2A is in operation and will remain at 28.2 degrees east until after Astra 2G is launched in 2014, I am expecting Astra 2A transponders and frequencies to be moved to Astra 2G and then Astra 2A will be moved to another satellite position, most probably 23.5 or 31.5 degrees east, Astra 2F is to remain at 28.2 degrees east, this satellite has spare capacity and prior to today's events my thinking was that Astra 2F was to take most of the Eutelsat 28.5 degrees east frequencies which "SES-Astra" have acquired for use from October the 3rd of 2013, you now see some of the urgency for "SES-Astra" but there is a dispute currently in progress between "SES-Astra" and "Eutelsat" over these frequencies and we the public are not party to the progress of the "Court of Arbitration" or what stage the discussions are at, anyway moving on, the Astra 1N satellite is currently in use but it is scheduled to move to the 19.2 degrees east satellite position following the launch and in operation of Astra 2E, and finally Astra 2D which is currently being used as Â a back up/stand by satellite, so that's 28.2 degrees east.Â Â© Rob's Satellite TV
The 19.2 degrees east satellite position of "SES-Astra" also needs another satellite,Â currently positioned there are the following satellites, Astra 1KR, Astra 1L, Astra 1M, and Astra 2C, also positioned very close by at 19.4 degrees east is the Astra 2B satellite which used to be at 28.2 degrees east, the current status of all these satellites is that Astra 1KR, Astra 1M, Astra 1L, and Astra 2C are all currently in operation, Astra 2B is not as yet in operation and is at 19.4 degrees east and it's new purpose at this satellite position is to open up another "SES-Astra" satellite position to serve South Africa, I was expecting Astra 1L and Astra 2C to be cleared of their frequencies once Astra 1N arrived at 19.2 degrees east, Astra 1L was then to be used a a back up/stand by satellite at 19.2 degrees east and Astra 2C to be moved to 28.2 degrees east, so that's 19.2 degrees east, and now to the numerous possibilities.Â© Rob's
Until Astra 2E is launched and in operation what temporary measures can "SES-Astra" make and take at the 28.2 and 19.2 degrees east satellite positions now that the Astra 2E launch is delayed, they need capacity and they also need back up at both satellite positions, I am outlining some of the possible solutions below and all of the solutions do not leave much back up/stand by cover for "SES-Astra" but they may be able to live with that for the short term solution
1) "SES-Astra" could just leave everything just the same as it currently is until Astra 2E's eventual launch and in operation and following that just continue with their original designated plan of moving Astra 1N from 28.2 to 19.2 degrees east and moving Astra 2C from 19.2 to 28.2 degrees east, the capacity is ther at 28.2 degrees east to do that, my long held belief is that the reason that Astar 1N and not Astra 2F was given the Astra 2B frequencies was because "SES-Astra" have/had a long term alternative plan in the likely and now true event of an Astra 2E launch delay and/or problems, Astra 2F is and was kept as a back up solution to take the disputed "Eutelsat" frequencies, as I have said previously, we currently do not know whether it is "Eutelsat" or "SES-Astra" who gets the disputed frequenciesÂ if it is "Eutelsat" then there is nothing at all to worry about for "SES-Astra"Â but if it is "SES-Astra" they do sort of have the current 28.2 degrees east capacity for this, there is also Astra 2D as a sort of back up/stand by satellite but that would be very sparse for back up/stand by capacity, also excepting the "Eutelsat" frequencies please don't expect any new frequency channel activations at 28.2 degrees east using this solution.
2) In the interim and before the 3rd of October of 2013 "SES-Astra" could reactivate Astra 2D at 28.2 degrees east to take the low band Astra 1N frequencies/channels and they could also put the high band Astar 1N frequencies/channels onto Astra 2F, this would release Astra 1N to move to 19.2 degrees east as originally planned and subsequently Astra 2C could be released to move to 28.2 degrees east also as originally planned, doing all this before the 3rd of October of 2013 wouldÂ mean that Astra 2C would be in a position to either retake the Astra 1N high band frequencies from Astra 2F leaving Astra 2F free to take the "Eutelsat" frequencies or Astra 2C could be left empty to take the "Eutelsat" frequencies leaving Astra 2F with the Astra 1N highband frequencies that it took, the low band frequencies would remain on Astra 2D, this solution does not leave any room for back up/stand by capacity.Â Â© Rob's Satellite TV
3) There is another more feasible solution, a satellite that used to be at the 19.2 degrees east satellite position but was only recently moved from there, Astra 1H is currently between 52 and 53 degrees east, it is currently serving no purpose other that it is in the very early stages process of opening up a new satellite position or supplementing an existing out of the way satellite position for "SES-Astra" but as a temporary solution why don't "SES-Astra" bring Astra 1H to help out temporarily at 28.2 degrees east and while they are at it they could alsoutilise Astra 2B to help out temporarily at 19.2 degrees east, it is currently at 19.4 degrees east and if it won't work at that position which I am thinking that it would but if not then it could be moved slightly from 19.4 to 19.2 degrees east, Astra 1H and Astra 2B would be ideal temporary solutions which would keep the "SES-Astra" master plan to it's origianl master plan of moving Astra 1N from 28.2 to 19.2 degrees east and moving Astra 2C from 19.2 to 28.2 degrees east, it could be done and "SES-Astra" do have the time to now implement this solution.Â Â© Rob's Satellite TV
4) "SES-Astra" could at the 19.2 degrees east satellite positionÂ see if they could share all of the Astra 2C frequencies/chanenls between Astra 1KR, Astra 1L, and Astra 1M which would then release Astra 2C to go to 28.2 degrees east to help out, failing that "SES-Astra" couldÂ utilise the Astra 2B satellite which is at 19.4 degrees east, it could remain there or could be moved slightly to 19.2 degrees east, Astra 2B could then take some of the Astra 2C frequencies/channels and the rest of Astra 2C frequencies/channels could be shared between the other Astra 1KR, Astra 1L, and Astra 1M satellites at the 19.2 degrees east satellite position, this would then release Astra 2C to be moved to 28.2 degrees east where it would remain, Astra 1N could then be moved to 19.2 degrees east, this solution would also sort of keep the original "SES-Astra" master plan sort of in it's original state.Â Â© Rob's Satellite TV
5) Those are the main possibilities that come to mind but there may be others too.Â Â© Rob's Satellite TV
So there we are, those are my theories as to what could and can be done to help "SES-Astra" to alleviate some of the problems that this Astra 2E delay has brought upon them during this difficult time, personally despite what Astra 2E and it's beams will possibly mean for lots of you I must say that I actually feel quite sorry for "SES-Astra" at this time, they have had absolutely no luck whatsoever regarding Astra 2E, nothing at all has gone right at for them.
That took some thinking and writing so I do hope that it was all worth it and that it is a pleasant and enlightening read for you all.
"Rob's Satellite TV" giving you the whole picture in and with colour, you always get the full and complete picture from "Rob's",Â you know it makes sense and reallyÂ there is nowhere quite like "Rob's"!
UPDATEÂ 02/07/13 at 18.30 - This from "ILS" (International Launch Services) regarding the launch catastrophe this morning, "The launch of the Proton M/Block DM-03 mission with three Glonass navigational satellites for the Russian Federal Government resulted in a failure today. Â About ten seconds after lift-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:38 am local time, the rocket veered off of its flight path and returned to earth" and "The impact occurred in a safe area that was evacuated for the launch and all personnel are reported to be unharmed. From early reports, there was no damage to either launch Pad 39 or 24, near the impact area; there is only minor damage to nearby buildings", this quoted "Pad 39" is significant because "Pad 39" is or possibly now was where "Astra 2E" was to be launched from, there will now be investigations by the "Russian Space Agency and also by "ILS", the latter of which will be sure to be including some "SES-Astra" personnel
UPDATEÂ 02/07/13 at 12.30 - "Boom Bang-a-Bang"!
UPDATEÂ 02/07/13 at 10.00 - The "Astra 2E" satellite launch will be delayed following this morning's "Proton-M" rocket launch crash at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, according to a source "There will be no launches from Baikonur for about two to three months", this is very bad news for "SES-Astra" who do have a "master plan" for the 28.2 and 19.2 degrees east satellite positions and they really could have done without any further delays or problems regarding the launch of "Astra 2E", this is not good, for more on this morning's crash please seeÂ HERE
UPDATEÂ 02/07/13 at 08.00 - Oh dear and there will Â now be a delay! This is very much "Astra 2E" related, this morning there was a "Proton-M" rocket launch carrying "Glonass" satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan,Â the problem is that this satellite launch crashed shortly after lift off, this now means an investigation and there will be a delay on all future launches from Baikonur,Â this now crashed launch would have been the last launch from Baikonur before the expected "Astra 2E" launch,, the "Proton-M" rocket which is what "Astra 2E" will also be launched on was the problem this morning so they are going to have to find out what caused this rocket failure, the "Astra 2E" launch will now inevitibly be delayed, I will have more on this later
UPDATEÂ 01/07/13 at 21.00 - Some general "Astra 2E" information from "SES-Astra", the "Astra 2E" satellite will be launched on board an ILS Proton Breeze M booster from pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday 21 July, 2013, I have already previously said that this will beÂ an evening of Saturday the 20th of July, 2013 launch in the UK and Central Europe with the scheduled launch time of the "Astra 2E" satellite at 2243 and 57 seconds UK time, 2343 and 57 seconds Central European time, 2143 and 57 seconds GMT/UTC (Universal Coordinated Time), further informations are that "Astra 2E" hasÂ 60 Ku-band transponders and 3 wideband Ka-band transponders, itÂ will serve to deliver next generation broadcast, VSAT and broadband services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the prime orbital location of 28.2* East, and it has a launch mass of 6020 kg and it hasÂ a life expectancy of 15 plus years, you really wanted to know that didn't you!
UPDATEÂ 29/06/13 at 22.00 - An update on the "Astra 2E" satellite launch and it is in fact as I said an evening of Saturday the 20th of July, 2013 launch in the UK and Central Europe, the scheduled launch time of the "Astra 2E" satellite is 2243 and 57 seconds UK time, 2343 and 57 seconds Central European time,Â 2143 and 57 seconds GMT/UTC (Universal Coordinated Time)
UPDATEÂ 27/06/13 at 10.00 - Another Astra 2E photo from SES-Astra
Astra 2EÂ being unloaded from its transport train in Baikonur
UPDATEÂ 24/06/13 at 23.00 - SES-Astra Satellite Happenings 1 -Â So, if there will be no delay and the "Astra 2E" is launched on the evening of Saturday the 20th of July, 2013 what will be to come next? Allow "Rob" to clarify the expected timetable of "Astra 2E", as I said, an expected launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazahksat on the evening of Saturday the 20th of July, 2013 UK and Central European time, following the launch and orbiting of Astra 2E iand as has already been confirmed on this website this satellite will be placed at the 43.5 degrees east satellite position for testing before being moved to the 28.2 degrees east satellite position to commence UK TV operation, I am expecting the Astra 2E satellite to arrive at 43.5 degrees east around the 30th or 31st of July, 2013 where it will be tested for approximately a period of approximately four weeks, this 43.5 degrees east testing period should have been completed by the 27th or 28th of August, 2013 in which case Astra 2E will then be moved from 43.5 degrees east to 28.2 degrees east, this move will take approximately one week and I am expecting the Astra 2E satellite to arrive at the 28.2 degrees east satellite position on the 2nd or 3rd of September, 2013, Astra 2E will then be officially announced as in service and operational and following this arrival at the 28.2 degrees east satellite position Astra 2E will then be ready to be activated for broadcasts, and mark my words, Astra 2E will take broadcasts very quickly indeed, the temporary at 28.2 degrees east Astra 1N satellite is needed quickly at it's original intended home of 19.2 degrees east so I am expecting a quick transition and transfer of Astra 1N's frequencies and channels to Astra 2E, this could begin as early as the 6th of September, 2013 and will continue through the second week of September with 10th and 11th of September being further likely dates for further transfers from Astra 1N to Astra 2E, I also expect that the transfer of frequencies and channels from Astra 1N to Astra 2E will have been completed by the 14th of September, 2013, of course all of the above is dependent on Astra 2E being tested at 43.5 degrees east for four weeks but there is a possibility that Astra 2E could only be tested at 43.5 degrees east for only three weeks and if this is indeed the case then testing could be completed by the 20th or 21st of August, 2013 which is when Astra 2E can begin it's move to 28.2 degrees east arriving at 28.2 degrees east at around the 26th or 27th of August, 2013 with possibly some transfer of frequencies and channels from Astra 1N to Astra 2E beginning at around the 30th of August, 2013 with a transfer completion date of the 7th of September, as with all things regarding satellite launches and subsequent in service, plans can and do change for various reasons but I hope my article has brought you some clarity and some timeline regarding the Astra 2E situation and please do remember where you read it first and don't forget that all important "link" if you use the information contained here somewhere else, and a little bonus to come is thatÂ I will have more on the Astra 1N plans for 19.2 degrees east in the days to come because it warrants a separate posting, this will be called "SES-Astra Satellite Happenings 2", why not join the world leader of satellite happenings "Rob's Satellite TV" Forum, new membership is for a limited time only, I would not wish you to miss out on the phenomenonÂ and the trending that isÂ "Rob's Satellite TV"!
UPDATEÂ 24/06/13Â at 21.30 - An Astra 2E photo from SES-Astra
Astra 2E Â arrived at its destination safe and sound
UPDATEÂ 19/06/13 at 20.00 - As I have alluded to a couple of days ago and in light of the recent announcement by "SES-Astra" that the Astra 2E satellite will now be launched on the 21st of July, 2013Â (local time Kazakhstan) I am still suspecting that the Astra 2E satellite will be launched on the evening of the 20th of July, 2013 (local time UK and Central Europe), It is still very possible!
UPDATEÂ 18/06/13 at 21.00 - Astra 2E is manufactured by Astrium and on the Astrium website there is a nice littleÂ animation sequence which is especially good for my not so technical and/or new to satellite technology readers, if you are at a loss as to what makes a satellite itÂ does not get much better than this little animated explanation,Â this really should win an award for it's simple and clear explanation and description of all the different elements that make up a communications satellite and their various functions, I will link the page soon but once on the page please scroll down the page, put your mouse over the play icon, then once the animated satellite separates put your mouse over the different parts of the separated satellite for more information about that particular part of the satellite and what it is for, the page isÂ HEREÂ , NJOY!
UPDATEÂ 18/06/13 at 21.00 - Two Astra 2E photos from SES-Astra
This one isÂ Astra 2E being unloaded from its transport casing at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan
And this one isÂ Astra 2E having safely arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan
UPDATEÂ 18/06/13 at 10.00 - A further update regarding yesterday's announcement by "SES-Astra" that the Astra 2E satelliteÂ "will now be processed for a July 21st launch (local time Baikonur) on board a Proton launch vehicle." is that I am reliably informed that no actual launch time has been allocated yet at this stage. And yet again, it is "Rob's Satellite TV" giving it to you baby!
UPDATEÂ 18/06/13 at 10.00 - The "ILS" (International Launch Services) who are the responsible party regarding for the "Proton-M/Briz-M" rocket launch of the Astra 2E satellite now have a dedicated "current mission" Astra 2E page, seeÂ HERE
UPDATE 03/02/13 at 20.00 - Astra 2B and all the rest of it! -Â Now that Astra 2B has been cleared of all it's frequencies and channels what is expected to happen next,Â firstly I must remind you of the original "SES-Astra" plan, Astra 2B was scheduled to be emptied of all transmissions and subsequently moved from 28.2 degrees east to 19.2 degrees east, this move to 19.2 is for back up capacity and also some broadcast transmissions, Astra 2B's move is sort of separate/detached to all the other "happenings" which are scheduled to happen, these are, during the second and third quarter of this year the following is/was the original plan of what should/would happen, Astra 2E's launch and placing at 28.2 degrees east, the subsequent Astra 1N move from 28.2 degrees east to 19.2 degrees east and then the Astra 2C move from 19.2 degrees east to 28.2 degrees east. The problem for "SES-Astra" is twofold, the Astra 2E launch has been delayed and has Astra 2F got a problem or problems as is widely suspected to be the case, Astra 2E's new launch date is the 20th of May this year which means that it will not be operational until sometime in July at the earliest, naturally this July Astra 2E officially active date is subject to everything goingÂ according to plan with the launch and placing of Astra 2E, any sort of delay or other problem with Astra 2E's launch would put immense pressure on "SES-Astra regarding timelines and satellite capacity at 28.2 degrees east with a subsequent knock on effect also at the 19.2 degrees east satellite position, as I said, Astra 2F has possibly got problems, this would not be the first (or the last) time that new satellites have had major problems following launch and if it is correct that Astra 2F does have problems then this would mean that the 28.2 degrees satellite position would be short of much needed frequency capacity, so what are "SES-Astra" to do? One thing that they do need to do is make contingency plans because also in the third quarter of this year "SES-Astra" are due to take over lots of extra frequencies from "Eutelsat" at the "28" degrees east satellite position and if the satellite capacity is not there and already in place then big problems ensue, bearing allt his in mind then a possible change to the original "SES-astra" plan could see Astra 2B going to 19.2 degrees east but taking a more active role at this satellite position, once Astra 2B is at 19.2 degrees east we could see a shuffling/sharing/moving of frequencies and channels between all the satellites at this position with the ultimateÂ aim of clearing Astra 2C of all it's frequencies and channels, this would then allow Astra 2C to move from 19.2 degrees east to 28.2 degrees east thus giving "SES-Astra" some much needed satellite capacity and some much needed contingency and breathing space at 28.2 degrees east, if "SES-Astra" do adopt this route of moving Astra 2C to 28.2 degrees east earlier than the original plan then it would also sort of "unofficially" confirm that Astra 2F does indeed have problems, if when Astra 2B gets to 19.2 degrees east and we then see the moving around of frequencies and channels between the satellites and it looks like Astra 2C is being cleared of it's frequencies and channels then it will be safe to say that Astra 2C will be moving and Astra 2F has problems, we await further developments with anticipation and trepidation. One further thought on the Astra 2B frequencies and channels moving to Astra 1N and not Astra 2F as was expected is that yes Astra 2F could have problems but also it could be possible that Astra 2F does not have problems, the reason for 2B to 1N not 2F moves could be something much simpler, as Astra 1N is scheduled to move from 28.2 degrees east to 19.2 degrees east could "SES-Astra" have putÂ the Astra 2B channels onto Astra 1N so it could test the Pan European Beam, as far as I am aware the only time "SES-Astra" have ever used the Pan European Beam on Astra 1N was only for a very brief period following Astra 1N's launch, just a thought! As I said we await further developments with anticipation and trepidation, I think that "SES-Astra" await further developments with much less anticipation and much more trepidation! LOL!
Some order/clarification on this great big "SES-AstraÂ Betzdorf Space Shuffle" that is happening/is going to be happening, let's start with the already happened some of Astra 1N frequencies/channels andÂ also the Astra 2B West African Beam frequencies/channels havingÂ been transferred to Astra 2F, what is expected next to happen is that the Astra 2B European Beam frequencies/channels should be transferred to Astra 2F in January 2013 this will leave Astra 2BÂ clear of all traffic, Astra 2B isÂ scheduled to be relocated at some point (I will come to that later) but I am expecting that 2B will be temporarily used as a back up satellite at 28.2 degrees east in case of one of the other satellite's suffering a failure before it moves elsewhere, SES-Astra is currently in need of back up at 28.2 degrees east too, the new Astra 2E satellite will be launched sometime between March 2013 and June 2013 launch, the precise date is now to be confirmed followingÂ a delay on future launches fromÂ the proposed launch site afterÂ a problem occurred with another satellite launch which needs to be fully investigated but following on from Astra 2E's successful launch there will be a transfer of the remaining Astra 1N frequencies/channels to the Astra 2E satellite, this is confirmed as scheduled to happen in the Summer of 2013, I am not expecting any of Astra 2A's frequencies/channels to have been transferred to another satellite by this point (it will become apparent why not later).
Now it is going to get a little confusing so please keep up! LOL!Â In the Summer of 2013 and following Astra 1N transfer to Astra 2E then there should be the following SES-Astra satellite's at the following positions - 28.2 degrees east will have the active satellite's 2E, 2F, 2A and the back up satellite's 1N, 2B, and 2D - 19.2 degrees east will have the active satellite's 2C, 1L, 1M, and 1KR and the back up satellite's 1H, and AMC-2.
So moving on, but before I (and SES-Astra) move on there is something very important to be considering, SES-Astra's acquisition of most of Eutelsat's 28.5 degrees east frequencies, this frequency acquisition is currently being challenged by Eutelsat butÂ this frequency dispute will have been sorted out by Summer 2013 and if it remains so that SES-Astra have successfully acquired those Eutelsat frequencies thenÂ by the Summer of 2013 SES-Astra would indeed have the infrastructue/satellites ready and in place for this Eutelsat frequency takeover, the plan is for theseÂ Eutelsat's frequencies to be transferred to Astra's 2E and Astra 2F from October the 4th, 2013 butÂ this all means that Astra's 2E and 2F will be fully in service with little or no spare frequency capacity and because of this I do foresee that at this time (Q2/Q3 2013) that Astra 2A's frequencies/channels will not have been transferred to another satellite and that Astra 2B will also still be at 28.2 degrees east used as a back up satellite at least until after the next 19.2 degrees changes/moves have happened which I will now outline.
It has long been known that 19.2 degrees east is shy of active and back up satellite's and I foresee that Astra 2B will eventually end up at 19.2 degrees east as a back up satellite but that should not happen before the following things happen,Rob's "World Exclusive News" last year that Astra 1N was only temporary at 28.2 degrees east before it moves to 19.2 degrees eastÂ mean that once Astra 2E is successfully launched and operational then SES-Astra will waste no time whatsoever in transferring Astra 1N frequencies/channels to Astra 2E and then quickly moving Astra 1N from 28.2 to 19.2 degrees satellite position,Â Rob's "World Exclusive News"Â yesterday that Astra 2C and Astra 1L frequencies/channels will be transferred to Astra 1N in the third quarter of 2013 is testament to this happening quickly, and what then of Astra's 2C and 1L, Astra 2C should go to 28.2 degrees east which was it's originally planned destination because by now 28.2 degrees east is also shy of active and stand by satellites, Astra 1L will remain at 19.2 degrees east as a back up satellite, for extra new traffic, and for existing Ka-Band traffic. Only once Astra 2C is moved fropm 19.2 to 28.2 degrees east will Astra 2A be removed of it's frequencies/channels and then moved to another satellite position, this most probably happening in late 2013/early 2014.
The informations contained in the above article are part confirmed fact informations and part unconfirmed speculations, as is the way with everything satellite related, the confirmed fact informations are correct at the time of publishing and Rob cannot be held responsible for changes toÂ the confirmed fact informations that happen thereafter.
It's Chriiiiistmaaaaaas, let the alcohol drinking begin and let theÂ "SES-AstraÂ Betzdorf Space Shuffle" commence! LOL!
UPDATE 21/12/12 at 20.15 - Astra Satellites - Rob's Satellite TV, "World Exclusive", remember where you read it first
Astra 1N, Astra 2C, and Astra 1L "World Exclusive News" - After the Astra 1N satellite has been moved from 28.2 degrees east to it's new satellite position of 19.2 degrees east there will be two satellites which are currently located at 19.2 degrees east which will be cleared of their frequencies/channels, both the Astra 2C and Astra 1L satellites' frequencies/channels will be transferred to the Astra 1N satellite in the third quarter of 2013
Astra 2E News - I have in previous posts been saying that there was the probability/possibility that the scheduled launch for the Astra 2E satellite would be delayed and this is now so, Astra 2E was supposedly to have been launched in March 2013, the new scheduled launch date for Astra 2E could now be June 2013
Coming soon (over the weekend) more on all this in the form of one of the legend Rob's now legendary "essays"!
UPDATE 17/12/12 - Astra 2E -Â It is looking likely that the launch of "Astra 2E" could be delayed due to a knock on effectÂ following the problems experienced with the "Yamal 402" satellite which was recently launchedÂ aboard a Proton launcher from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, problems were experienced during the separation phase following the launch, there are investigations underway regarding this problem and the next scheduled launch is the "Satmex 8" satellite launch which according to some sources is now likely to be delayed, as I said this would more than likely have a knock on effect on the following scheduled satellite launches aboard the Proton launchers from Baikonur and the "Astra 2E" satellite is one of the following scheduled launches which are scheduled! (too many schedules or not?) LOL! We await further developments on this