The long-awaited launch of Astra 2G has been rescheduled for December 28th. The launch will follow a proving flight to be made on December 16th of the Proton/Briz-M rocket which is slated to carry Russia’s Yamal-401 satellite into space. If that goes well then International Launch Services, which manages the commercial side of the Proton launch system, will go ahead with the Astra 2G launch.
The launches were originally planned for December 12th for the Yamal and November 28th for Astra, but were delayed when a fault was discovered in the rocket’s control system.
Normally the Astra craft would take a few weeks to get to its 28.2 degrees East operation position, but this satellite is carrying a small military cargo for the Luxembourg government which adds a degree of complication to its mission. First, it has to go to an undisclosed location where it will stay for at least 3 months in order to be formally ‘brought into use’. Only then will it be re-located to 28.2 deg East.
Industry insiders say it could be 5-6 months before it is available for commercial use.