Advanced Television

SES Astra 1P and SpaceX break records

June 21, 2024

By Chris Forrester

Astra 1P was successfully launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 5.35pm Florida time on June 20th. The SES satellite, and its SpaceX launch partner, broke many records in the process.

The Astra 1P satellite will be the most powerful ever placed at the 19.2 degrees orbital slot, and will replace four existing satellites. Built by Thales Alenia Space, Astra 1P is based on the 100 per cent electric Spacebus NEO platform and features 80 transponders capable of delivering 500 HD TV channels. Astra 1P will continue the mission of serving 119 million TV households across Europe.

However, the satellite will take some months to raise its orbit. It is currently using its all-electric thrusters to slowly move towards its designated orbital position. Built by Thales Alenia Space, Astra 1P is a wide-beam satellite and servies SES Astra’s HD+ platform as well as pay-TV services for Canal+ and Sky.

“We are excited that Astra 1P will be joining our fleet of geostationary satellites, marking the next generation of satellites to operate at one of our most important orbital positions responsible for delivering content to hundreds of millions of viewers in Europe,” said Adel Al-Saleh, CEO of SES. “Ever since the launch of Astra 1A in 1988, our satellites have played a pivotal role in reliably delivering high-quality content to viewers. We are well-positioned to continue supporting our broadcast customers for many years to come with Astra 1P.”

The SpaceX launch was delayed by two days by high winds but the eventual launch was flawless. It was the 62nd launch this year for SpaceX. The landing of the Falcon 9 booster achieved a major milestone for the Elon Musk-owned business: the 250th landing. One observer summed up the event, saying: “250 rockets that would normally be expended historically, have launched satellites into orbit, then returned to the middle of the ocean and landed on a little tiny stamp that’s guided autonomously and remotely.”

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