SES orders two ASTRA satellites
November 18, 2021
By Chris Forrester
SES has ordered two replacement satellites for its prime orbital slot at 19.2 degrees East and will serve 118 million homes across Europe and beyond.
Luxembourg-based SES says the two geostationary (GEO) Ku-band satellites will be for its prime orbital slot at 19.2 degrees East to maintain the premium services it provides to its European video customers and to capture new opportunities in the region.
These two replacement satellites – ASTRA 1P and ASTRA 1Q – will be built by Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67 per cent) and Leonardo (33 per cent) and are expected to launch in 2024.
ASTRA 1P is a classic wide-beam satellite and will support SES’s prime TV neighbourhood and enable content owners, private and public broadcasters across Germany, France and Spain to continue broadcasting satellite TV channels in the highest-picture quality in the most cost-efficient manner.
ASTRA 1Q, a next-generation digital satellite with both wide beams and high-throughput spot beams, will be able to support DTH operations like ASTRA 1P. In addition, the fully flexible ASTRA 1Q is customisable on orbit and can be deployed easily to other orbital positions, enabling SES to serve the dynamic needs of its video and data customers well into the future.
“The current satellites operating at SES’s prime orbital neighbourhood of 19.2 degrees East serve 118 million households or over 43 per cent of all European TV homes. Specifically the majority of satellite homes in Germany, France and Spain are being served by the ASTRA satellites. The number of TV homes receiving HD content from these satellites has increased almost 30 per cent over the past five years.
“Our prime TV neighbourhood at 19.2 degrees East is one of our most valuable assets and has been key to enabling renowned European broadcasters to grow their TV audiences in the last 30 years. These two satellites will have the resiliency, reliability and redundancy that our video customers need, and will be able to deliver continued premium services well into 2040,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “Additionally, thanks to advanced satellite technology, we will be future-proofing our investment and injecting a high degree of flexibility into ASTRA 1Q to ensure we are meeting the evolving needs of all the markets we serve.”
This contract reflects the ability of Thales Alenia Space to match complementary customer’s needs for both capacity and flexibility. We are proud to offer to SES our full electric Spacebus NEO flight proven product line to answer Astra 1P mission as well as our innovative software defined solution Space Inspire, allowing Astra 1Q the full in-orbit flexibility requested to serve the dynamic of the evolving market,” added Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space.
The procurement of the two satellites was already incorporated within SES’s existing Capital Expenditure outlook for 2021-2025 and is fully compliant with the company’s financial policy.