Astra forced to delay 5B launch

SES Astra has had to scrub its planned December 6th launch because its co-passenger on the giant Ariane 5 rocket isn’t ready. The missing passenger is Hispasat’s Amazonas 4A craft. Astra 5B will now have to wait until January for launch.

The news is a triple blow to SES. The first is that the satellite is much needed in orbit, and has customers waiting for capacity. The second, and related, is that SES now will not enjoy revenues from 5B until – probably – the end of February given that most satellites need 3-4 weeks of testing once in orbit. The third reason is that Astra 5B also carries a valuable ‘hosted payload’ for the EU’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) which is a key component of Europe’s GPS system. The EGNOS payload also represents delayed income for SES.

Astra 5B has been waiting in Kourou since November 6th in readiness for the anticipated Dec 6 launch.

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