Research from satellite-watcher Dr. D.S. Kelso at CeresTrak says that the past few days have been busy for the technicians at SES Astra and AsiaSat.
Kelso says that Astra 1D has been shifted from its geostationary orbit to a higher ‘graveyard’ orbit as it reached the end of its operational life earlier in November.
Astra 1D was launched in 1994 and initially served as a back-up for the (then) Astra fleet of 1A, 1B and 1C at 19.2 degrees East.
Astra 1D has led a rather peripatetic life within the SES manifest and spent time operating at 24.2 degrees East, 31.5 degrees East, 1.8 degrees East, 23.5 degrees East, 52.2 degrees East, 67.5 degrees West and most recently 73 degrees West.
Overall, it has worked for more some 28 years, despite an initial design life of just 12 years. For the past few years, it has been working in an inclined orbit to save fuel.
AsiaSat 3S was also moved to a higher ‘graveyard’ orbit earlier in November.
AsiaSat 3S was launched in 1999 and operated from 105.5 degrees East until 2014. It was moved to 120 degrees East (until 2015), then 150.5 degrees East for two years and finally at 146 degrees East. It was launched with a design life of 15 years and operated for 23 years.