6 November 2013 – The ASTRA 5B satellite, designed and manufactured by Astrium, the world’s second-ranking space company, for satellite operator SES, has left Toulouse, France, after completion of its final integration and test campaign. The telecommunications satellite is now en route to Kourou, French Guiana, in preparation for its launch by an Ariane 5 vehicle in December 2013.
Based on Astrium’s highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform, Astra 5B will be deployed at the orbital location of 31.5° East. It will provide extended transponder capacity in Ku and Ka bands with geographical reach over Eastern European and neighbouring markets for DTH, direct-to-cable and feeding to digital terrestrial television networks. It will also carry a hosted L-band payload for the European Commission’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).
ASTRA 5B will have a launch mass of 6 tonnes, a wingspan of 40m once its solar arrays are deployed in orbit, and a spacecraft power of 13kW until the end of its 15-year design lifetime. Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) operations will be conducted from the Astrium spacecraft control centre in Toulouse.
ASTRA 5B will be the eighth Eurostar satellite in the SES fleet, following the recent successful launches of ASTRA 2F in September 2012, SES-6 in June 2013, and ASTRA 2E in September 2013. One more Eurostar E3000 for SES (ASTRA 2G) is currently in final integration and tests in Astrium facilities.