Astra 2E Satellite

astra2e-posterSatellite Name: Astra 2E
Status: Operational
Position: 28.2° East
Norad: 39285
Cospar number: 2013-056A
Operator: SES
Launch date: September 30, 2013
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome
Launch vehicle: Proton Breeze M
Launch mass (kg): Total payload lift performance more than 10,200 kg
Dry mass (kg): NOT KNOWN
Solar Array Span: 40 m
Manufacturer: EADS Astrium
Platform: Eurostar-E3000
Coverage: Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Beams: UK Spotbeam, Pan-European Beam, Middle East Spotbeam
Bands: KU and KA Power (EOL): 13 kw
Number of Transponders: Ku-Band 60, Ka-Band 3
Orbit: Geostationary
Beacon Frequency: 11.707 – Polarity L/R Expected lifetime: 15 years


Operational Frequency Bands

Uplink: 12.75-13.00 GHz, 13.16-13.25 GHz, 13.75-14.50 GHz, 17.30-18.35 GHz, 27.85-28.45 GHz, 28.52-28.76 GHz, 28.90-30.00 GHz
Downlink: 10.70-1 1.20 GHz, 11.36-12.75 GHz, 18.85-20.20 GHz, 21.40-22.20 GHz

TT&C Frequency Bands

Uplink: 17309.5 MHz, 18090.0 MHz
Downlink: 1 1707.5 MHz, 12493.0 MHz, 1 1453.5 MHz, 18800.5 MHz


About Astra 2E

astra2e-launch2The Proton M launch vehicle, utilizing a 5-burn Breeze M mission design, lifted off from Pad 39 at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, with the Astra 2E satellite on board, on Monday, September 30, 2013.
Astra 2E entered into commercial service on Saturday, February 1, 2014.
SES ASTRA customers in this region include BSkyB, BBC, ITV, Freesat, Channel Four, Channel 5, UK TV, Virgin Media, MTV and Discovery.

Astra 2E has three Ku-band downlink beams covering Europe and the Middle East:

  • The Europe beam is centred on the English Channel with maximum signal over the UK, Ireland, France, Benelux, and parts of Germany, Austria, and Spain (including a “lobe” specifically designed to serve the Canary Islands), and reception on a larger dish extending to Italy, Poland, North Africa, and the Balkans.
  • The UK Spot beam provides a maximum signal (for 45 cm dishes) over the UK and Ireland with a sharp roll-off of signal level outside this region, in a close approximation of the UK Beam of Astra 2D. This enables channels to be broadcast free-to-air but with reception effectively constrained to the British Isles, and has been the basis for the Freesat free-to-air UK platform.
  • The Middle East beam is centred on the Arabian peninsula and extends to Turkey and into eastern Africa, to provide for reception with 50 cm dishes.
  • The Ka-band footprint for satellite broadband provides full-service coverage centred on central Europe and extending to France, Italy, the Balkans, the UK, and southern Sweden and Norway.

The Astra 2E satellite is fitted with 60 Ku-band transponders.

The Ka-band payload will allow SES ASTRA to develop next-generation broadband services in Europe, including its growing ASTRA2Connect product.

See: Astra 2E Reception Reports Map


BBC, ITV & Channel 4 services on Astra 2E

BBC, ITV and Channel 4  services are now broadcasting from the Astra 2E satellite using the UK Spotbeam.
The changeover occurred during the early hours of Thursday, February 6, 2014.

This change had no impact on UK households. Astra 2E has the same, tight though slightly more powerful UK spot beam than Astra 2D, which means that UK households should get a slightly stronger signal. So if you happened to be on the edge of coverage, you will hopefully get more reliable reception.

The overspill of the BBC’s services will be reduced, so viewers outside the UK will find it even harder to receive them.
Early reports from overseas viewers seem to suggest that Astra 2E is slightly more powerful than Astra 2F. DVB-S2 HD transponders seem to be weaker than those carrying SD channels using DVB-S.

See Changes to BBC satellite transponders in 2013
See BBC satellite reception page


Astra 2E Spotbeams
Astra 2E UK Spotbeam

Astra 2E Pan-European Spotbeam

Astra 2E Ka-band Spotbeam

Astra 2E Middle East Spotbeam



Astra 2E Pre-Launch

rollout20An An-124 transport plane delivered the Astra 2E satellite to the launch site on June 14 2013, and its Briz-M upper stage followed four days later. However the launch preparation campaign was interrupted by the July 2 launch accident. By the middle of July, the mission was re-scheduled for September 15. In the second half of August, the mission slipped to September 17 and the fueling of the spacecraft started by the end of the same month.

On September 12, International Launch Service, ILS, which markets Proton rocket to commercial customers around the world, announced that the mission had been “postponed today for technical reasons associated with the launch vehicle” with a new launch date to be determined at a later time.

According to the company, on September 11, Khrunichev engineers at the launch site received an out-of-tolerance reading in the first stage of the vehicle. It was determined that further investigation had been necessary, requiring the launch vehicle be returned to the processing hall for additional testing. The vehicle and satellite remained in a safe configuration at the launch site, ILS said.
The launch was then rescheduled for September 30.

Astra 2E Launch

astra2e-launch12The Astra 2E satellite roared into space on board an ILS Proton Breeze M booster at 3:38 am Baikonur time (23:38 CET and 17:38 EDT on September 29). After a 9-hour, 12-minute mission, the Breeze M upper stage of the Proton rocket successfully released the Astra 2E satellite directly into geostationary transfer orbit.

The Proton followed a standard ascent profile delivering the Briz-M Upper Stage and its Astra 2E payload to a sub-orbital trajectory – successfully concluding its portion of the mission and handing control of the flight over to the Briz-M. The Upper Stage then executed its five burn mission profile over the course of more than nine hour to reach Geostationary Transfer Orbit with spacecraft separation taking place at 6:50 UTC on Monday.
This marked the first flight of the Proton since the dramatic July 2 failure when a Proton-M/Block DM-03 launch vehicle veered off course immediately after liftoff and exploded when it crashed 30 seconds after launch. With Proton cleared for launch and final launch preparations complete, Countdown Operations began on Sunday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome about 11 hours and 30 minutes before liftoff.

The first step in the countdown was the activation of the Briz-M Upper Stage and checkouts of its Guidance, Navigation and Control System.
The Briz-M countdown sequence started at that point as the Upper Stage went through preparations for its long mission. At T-8 hours, the Launch Pad was cleared of all non-essential personnel for Propellant Loading.
The Proton Launcher was powered up at T-6 hours and 10 minutes and the Guidance System started verifications and the Spacecraft Abort Unit was activated.

astra2e-launch15The Russian State Commission completed its final review and gave the go-ahead for Proton-M propellant loading that started at T-5 hours.
A total of  622,075 Kilograms of Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine Fuel and Dinitrogen Tetroxide Oxidizer were loaded. Loading the launcher with these toxic propellants required about 2.5 hours after which the launch pad was re-opened and technicians could finish a final set of configuration tasks, buttoning up the rocket for flight.

One hour ahead of T-0, the Service Structure was retracted to its launch position at a safe distance to the launcher. Also at that time, all personnel retreated to their launch positions for the final countdown phase. At T-45 minutes, the Master Sequencer was activated and the individual sequencers of Ground Support Equipment, the spacecraft, launcher and Upper Stage were aligned.

The Proton Launch Abort System and the Spacecraft Abort Unit were activated and configured for flight. The Astra 2E satellite was switched to its flight sequence late in the Countdown and was transitioned to Internal Power as the Terminal Countdown Phase approached. At T-10 minutes, the Satellite Team was polled for a GO/No GO for launch, allowing the countdown to press into T-5 minutes.


Astra 2E Gallery

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