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Astra 1B
OperatorSES S.A.
SES Astra
COSPAR ID1991-015A
SATCAT no.21139
Mission duration10 years
Spacecraft properties
BusGE-5000 (formerly known as AS-5000)
ManufacturerGE AstroSpace (formerly RCA AstroSpace, Electronics division)
Launch mass1,562 kilograms (3,444 lb)
Power2,136 watts
Start of mission
Launch dateMarch 2, 1991 (1991-03-02Z) UTC
RocketAriane 4 V42
Launch siteKourou ELA-2
End of mission
Deactivated14 July 2006 (2006-07-15)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeGeosynchronous-belt graveyard orbit
SlotAstra 1
Perigee altitude36,253.7 kilometres (22,527.0 mi)[1]
Apogee altitude36,335.2 kilometres (22,577.6 mi)[1]
Inclination8.6 degrees[1]
Period1461.77 minutes[1]
Epoch2 March 2015, 07:38:46 UTC[1]
Band22 Ku-band
(16 main, 6 backup)
Bandwidth26 MHz
TWTA power60 watts
EIRP52.5 decibel-watts

Astra 1B was the second of the Astra communications satellites launched and operated by SES (Société Européenne des Satellites). SES bought the satellite from failed DBS company Crimson Satellite Associates while still under construction by GE AstroSpace (as Satcom K3).[2] It was launched to add extra capacity to the satellite television services from 19.2° east, serving Germany, the UK and Republic of Ireland (SES later acquired GE Americom, which was to operate Satcom K3, resulting in the latter being renamed SES Americom as a result of SES' acquisition from General Electric, which acquired former parent RCA Corporation in 1986).

On June 4, 1991 Astra 1B suffered an attitude control failure, causing minor drift in north–south direction, meaning that it became difficult to obtain a steady lock on the satellite. This was most notable on analogue transmissions where the picture would move from clear to carrying sparklies and back again. The failure was likely caused by recent solar winds which impacted the electronics on both the primary and the backup momentum wheels. In September 1991 SES dealt with the failure by permanently deactivating the automatic control mode for the attitude subsystem.[3]

Along with Astra 1C, Astra 1B was to be replaced in 2002 with Astra 1K, which failed to launch successfully, and as a result it continued to serve a longer life than expected, only falling from use when digital television on Astra 2A removed the majority of UK and Ireland targeted channels from 19.2° east.[citation needed]

From 2005, SES claimed that the satellite was in use for VSAT services, however no transponders were powered, and the satellite drifted to around 19.5° east. One transponder was reactivated in October 2005, but was carrying only colour bars.[citation needed]

On June 16, 2006 SES confirmed that Astra 1B would be decommissioned and de-orbited within weeks after Astra 1KR, the satellite which would replace Astra 1B and 1C, reached the operational orbital position of 19.2° east.[4] It was officially end-of-lifed on July 14, 2006; close to four years after it had ceased carrying signals, ending SES's claims that the craft was operational.[citation needed]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Satellite TV - Astra 23.5E & 19.2E - FTA (free-to-air) channels
  • Astra analog TV switch off - info bands



Astra 1B transponders were used in the following ways during the operational life of the satellite:[citation needed]

Transponder Frequency Channels carried
17 11,464 H Premiere (1991–2003), Sonnenklar.TV (2003-2009)
18 11,479 V The Movie Channel (1991–1997), Sky Movies Screen 2 (1997–1998), Sky Premier (1998–2001)
19 11,494 H ARD 1 Plus (1991–1993), Das Erste (1993-2012)
20 11,509 V Sky Sports (1991–2001)
21 11,523 H Tele 5 (1991–1992), DSF (1993-2010), Sport 1 (2010-2012)
22 11,538 V Eurosport (1991–1992), MTV Europe (1992–1993), VH1 UK (1993–2001), GOD (2001-2002)
23 11,553 H Astra Video (1991), FilmNet (1991–1992), UK Gold (1992–2001), What's In Store (1993-1997), HSN (1997), Screenshop (1997-2000), Astra Vision (2001-2002), Tele 5 (2002-2012)
24 11,568 V JSTV (1991-1996), The Children's Channel (1991-1994), CMT Europe (1994–1996), Sky Barker (1996–1997), Sky Soap (1997–1999), The History Channel UK (1997–2001), Sci-fi Channel UK (1997–2001), GOD (1997-2001), Adult Channel (1997-2000), Bloomberg UK (2001-2002), SFB1 (2001-2002)
25 11,582 H Nord 3 (1991–2001), NDR Fernsehen (2001-2012)
26 11,597 V Astra Info (1991), Comedy Channel (1991-1992), TV Asia (1991-1994) The Adult Channel (1991-1993), Sky Movies Gold (1992-1997), Disney Channel UK (1995–2001), Sky Box Office 1 (1997-1999)
27 11,612 H TV3 Denmark (1991–1996), Nickelodeon Nordic/Sci-Fi Channel Nordic/Nova Shop (1996), VH1 Germany/Nickelodeon Germany (1996-1998), MTV Germany (1999-2010), VIVA (2011)
28 11,627 V CNN International (1992-2010)
29 11,641 H TV3 Denmark (1991), Astra Info (1992), n-tv (1992-2012)
30 11,656 V Astra Info (1991-1992), Cinemanía (1992-1997), ORB Fernsehen (1997-2003), RBB Brandenburg (2003-2012)
31 11,671 H TV3 Norway (1991–1996) Sky Sports 3 (1996–2001), TV Shop (1996-2000), Playboy TV (1996-1999), Midnight Blue (1999-2001), Nick Junior (1999-2000), TV Puls (2002-2003)
32 11,686 V Documanía (1992–1996), Sportsmanía (1996-1997), Astra Vision (1997), BR alpha (1998-2002)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "ASTRA 1B Satellite details 1991-015A NORAD 21139". N2YO. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  2. ^ Astra 1B JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library. Accessed June 27, 2017
  3. ^ "Engineers snatch back control of 'wobbly' satellite". New Scientist. 21 September 1991. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  4. ^ "ASTRA 1KR OPERATIONAL AT ORBITAL POSITION 19.2° EAST" (Press release). SES ASTRA. June 16, 2006.

This page was last edited on 28 October 2020, at 15:44
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