Published on October 4th, 2013
The SES Astra 2E satellite was finally launched last Sunday from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. ASTRA 2E will be deployed at 28.2 degrees east.
The satellite was originally scheduled to be launched on the 21st July. The launch was delayed after a Proton rocket carrying another load crashed following the incorrect installation of three yaw angular rate sensors located on the launch vehicle.
Astra-2E carries Ku- and Ka-band payloads for the delivery of high-performance Direct-to-Home (DTH) and next generation broadband services in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The satellite will take 4-6 weeks to commission before coming on line. Once it is fully operational SES broadband will be available across Scotland and large parts of Eastern Europe as shown in the coverage map below. SES satellite broadband will be available as an alternative to Tooway in these areas. The increase in capacity across most of England should reduce the possibility of those areas experiencing the congestion they have recently been experiencing with Tooway.
In addition to providing capacity to UK broadcasters, SES-owned Astra 2E will also carry additional data and TV services for parts of Europe and the Middle East. It will be equipped with a similar UK spotbeam to the one used by Astra 2F, which led to numerous viewers in continental Europe losing access to some UK free-to-air channels, including Channel 5.
What is already clear from the characteristics of the current Astra 2F satellite is that the narrow beam is much tighter than the one previously carried by the Astra 2D satellite (now defunct) and even more so than its temporary replacement the Astra 1N satellite. Many expats in various parts of Europe who have been enjoying the BBC and ITV channels for the last few years are now finding they’ve lost them or are about to.
Typically the testing and subsequent move to its operational location can take around 6 weeks, after which we can expect the BBC and other main channels to be transferred.
So basically, expats in southern Europe have at best another 6 or 7 weeks to watch the main entertainment channels before their screens go blank. Viewers in the UK on the other hand, especially in Scotland, will get a much stronger signal and may be able to use a smaller dish than has been needed until now for TV reception.