Following the unfavourable weather conditions which led to the postponement of the scheduled August 5 launch of Arianespace Flight 203, the craft was successfully launched on August 6th at 19.52 pm local time (00:52 pm Central European Summer Time August 7th) from Kourou, French Guiana. The mission placed into geostationary transfer orbit the Astra 1N and BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R telecommunications satellites.
Astra 1N is set to deliver DTH services, notably digital and high definition (HD) television in Europe. The satellite will first provide interim replacement capacity at 28.2 degrees East (Astra main slot for UK and Ireland), and will subsequently be moved to 19.2° East, from where it will mainly serve the German, French and Spanish markets.
Astra 1N was built by Astrium on the Eurostar E3000 platform and is equipped with 52 transponders in the Ku frequency band. Astra 1N will be brought into commercial service within the next weeks after extensive in-orbit testing. The next SES launch is slated for early September, again on an Ariane rocket when SES-2 will be orbited. The same flight will carry Arabsat 5C.
Lockheed-Martin built the Japanese BSAT-3c/JCSAT 110R craft, which will be used by Japan’s Broadcast Satellite System Corp, and mostly utilised by Sky Perfect for DTH broadcasting. It will be positioned at 110 degrees East and come into service later in August following in-orbit testing.
“The successful launch of Astra 1N is another important milestone in our ambitious launch manifest for 2011, which will see four additional SES launches before year-end,” said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “Astra 1N will greatly enhance the flexibility of SES’s Astra satellite fleet at two key SES orbital slots over Europe and we would like to thank our longstanding partners Astrium and Arianespace for this mission success.”