Both SES Astra and Hispasat are due to get an early Christmas gift courtesy of Arianspace. The reason is a much-delayed European Space Agency (ESA) scientific satellite, Gaia, which needs more work.
Consequently, Arianespace is bringing forward the joint-launch of SES Astra 5B and Hispasat’s Amazonas 4A to December 6th. It means that both satellites will enter commercial service by the end of the year following the usual in-orbit testing period. It also means that both satellites will start contributing revenues to their owners during January.
The delayed Gaia craft is currently re-scheduled for December 6 provided the technical issues are solved. Gaia is an ESA project designed to provide a 3D map of our galaxy (the Milky Way), and to capture around 1 billion stars in our galaxy. However, the satellite has been in Kourou since August and a previous launch scheduled for October was also scrubbed.