ASTRA 2E Communication Satellite

ASTRA 2E is a communication satellite developed for SES. The satellite was launched into the Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) orbit on 30 September 2013.

It was launched into the orbit aboard the Proton Breeze M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The satellite is placed at 28.2° east longitude orbital position. It provides broadcast and broadband services covering Europe, Middle East and African countries.

ASTRA 2E satellite development and bus details

"It has design lifespan of more than 15 years and offers 13kW power throughout its mission life."

The ASTRA 2E satellite was designed and developed by French company EADS Astrium. The satellite was manufactured, assembled and tested at Astrium’s Toulouse site. The satellite has a launch mass of around 6,020kg and a wingspan of 40m when the solar arrays are deployed in orbit. It has a design lifespan of more than 15 years and offers 13kW power throughout its mission life.

On 14 June 2013 the Astra 2E was transported to Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Breeze M upper stage rocket was also transported to the launch site on the Antonov 124-100 cargo aircraft four days later. The satellite underwent final standalone tests at the launch site in July 2013.

The satellite used Eurostar E3000 platform developed by Astrium. The satellite bus used a chemical, bi-propellant propulsion system for orbit raising and on-station manoeuvres. It accommodates more than 100 transponders with a large number of antennas.

It has a payload power range of between 4kW and 14kW, but uses lithium-ion batteries for power supply during eclipses.

The ASTRA 2E satellite is the seventh Eurostar satellite in the SES fleet, following the successful launch of ASTRA 2F and SES-6 in September 2012 and June 2013 respectively. Two more SES satellites are being developed based on the Eurostar E3000 platform.

ASTRA 2E satellite launch vehicle

The satellite was launched atop the Proton Breeze M rocket, produced by Khrunichev Research and Production Space Centre of Moscow. The satellite launch services were provided by International Launch Services (ILS).

"It provides next generation broadcast, VSAT, and broadband services spanning Europe, the Middle East, and Africa."

A standard ascent profile was used during the first three stages of the Proton. Six RD-276 engines were used in the first stage; the second stage was powered by three RD-0210 engines, and the third stage was powered by one RD-0213 engine.

The rocket has five engine firings in the upper stage. The first stage used about 419.411t of propellants for the lift off, the second stage used 156.11t of propellants, and the third stage used about 46.56t of propellants.

The Proton booster used for launching the satellite had a 7.4m diameter in the first stage, and a 4.1m diameter in second and third stages. The height of the booster in the three stages was 42.3m. Satellite launch operations were carried out at Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad 39 in Kazakhstan.

Communication capabilities and services of ASTRA 2E satellite

The satellite is fitted with 60 Ku-band and three wideband Ka-band transponders. It provides next generation broadcast, VSAT, and broadband services spanning Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It offers three beams, which include Ku-band Europe beam, Ku-band Middle East beam, and Ku-band UK Spot beam.

The satellite provides Direct-to-Home (DTH) services in the UK and Ireland. The Ku-band transponders are developed to meet even the largest DTH broadcasters’ requirements.

The satellite offers services to major customers of SES in Europe including BSkyB, BBC, ITV, Freesat, Channel Four, UK TV, Virgin Media, Five, MTV, and Discovery.

Related projects

Amos-6 Communications Satellite, United States of America

AMOS-6 is a Spacecom AMOS series communications satellite, which is currently being manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

ASTRA 2F Communications Satellite, Luxembourg

The ASTRA 2F communication satellite will support direct-to-home (DTH) and next-generation broadband services in Europe, Middle East, Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

Defence Technology