The first of four Astrium-built Astra satellites for SES, ASTRA 2F, has been sent to Kourou, French Guiana, and is all set for launch aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle by the end of September 2012.
The delivery of the satellite, which is the fifth Eurostar satellite designed and produced by Astrium for the satellite operator SES, follows the completion of its final integration and test campaign at Astrium's facility in Toulouse, France.
Launch and early orbit phase operations will be performed from the Astrium spacecraft control centre in Toulouse.
Following its launch the 6,000kg satellite, which will have a wingspan of 40m after deployment of its solar arrays, will enable broadcast and broadband services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, carrying Ku- and Ka-band payloads at the orbital location of 28.2° East.
According to the manufacturer, the satellite will have a power of 13kW by the end of its 15-year design lifetime.
Expected to be the 28th Eurostar E3000 in orbit, the launch of ASTRA 2F follows the successful launch of ASTRA 1N in August 2011.
ASTRA 2F is the first in a series of four ASTRA satellites ordered in 2009, which are due to be launched in several stages between 2012 and 2014.
Astrium said the second in the series, ASTRA 2E, has already been assembled and is currently in its final testing phase in Toulouse, while the ASTRA 5B and ASTRA 2G plus another satellite ordered by SES, the SES-6, are currently in the initial production stages.
The Ariane 5 launch vehicle will also launch the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) developed GSAT-10 communications satellite along with ASTRA 2F.
Image: An artist's view of the Astra 2F satellite. Photo courtesy of Astrium.