Astra 2E will enter service on February 1st. Launched last September, the satellite has been testing its frequencies and functionality these past weeks. The satellite is co-located at the 28.2 degrees East orbit position which is mainly devoted to coverage of the British Isles.
SES, which operates the satellite fleet, says that over the next few weeks the new Astra 2E will see programming from BSkyB, Channel 4, ITV and the BBC transferred. Viewers will not be affected, but SES says the powerful new satellite will mean a more tightly focussed UK beam, and better viewing for Scotland and Ireland, although viewing in France, Spain and the other expatriate areas will be more challenging.
Astra 2E also carries a Middle East beam which looks at Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq as well as the Eastern Mediterannean.